From Panel to Big Screen—Panorama of Hong Kong's Comics-Inspired Films

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Hong Kong films often take inspiration from different parts of popular culture. One example is comics, an important source of creative influence intimately tied to people's everyday lives. Taking cues from their peers in Shanghai, Hong Kong filmmakers made Mr Wong of Guangdong (1937), an adaptation of Ye Qianyu's work, in the 1930s and pioneered a local trend of comic book adaptions for the big screen. As more artists moved to the city after the war, the Hong Kong comic scene saw a boom in popular, classic comic characters appearing on film, including King of Blunders (1949), starring Lau Kwai-hong, and The Kid (1950), starring Bruce Lee. With the rise of song-and-dance films in the 1950s and 60s, Sun Ma Si-tsang and Leung Sing-por took on the roles of Mr Wong and Woo Lung Wong (Silly Wong) respectively, sharply satirising the absurdities of modern society. In the mid-60s, Hong Kong Film Company released three film adaptations of Old Master Q, delighting audiences with their amusing depictions of the clashes between East and West in Hong Kong city life.

In the 1970s and 80s, internationally minded studios set their eyes on Japanese manga culture, fusing together the fantasy genre with cutting-edge visual effects to bring new sensations to audiences. Examples include Shaw Brothers' The Super Inframan (1975), inspired by Japan's TV series Kamen Rider, and Golden Harvest's Peacock King (1989) and Saga of the Phoenix (1990), adapted from the Japanese manga Peacock King. Other adaptations, such as Mack the Knife (1995) and Initial D (2005), display the imaginative range and abilities of Hong Kong filmmakers.

Local Hong Kong comics reached a creative peak in the late 80s and early 90s. Newcomers absorbed influence from the US and Japan while also developing new topics and themes for local comics, introducing many best-selling comic series that were later adapted into film. In 1996, the triad-themed comic Young and Dangerous was made into a film franchise, while Feel 100%, a Japanese-influenced local comic series, was also adapted for the silver screen. With the advancement of CGI in the late 1990s, the wuxia series Storm Riders and A Man Called Hero made their way from comic book panel to the big screen, inviting audiences into their fantastical worlds.

As part of the first Hong Kong Pop Culture Festival, this screening programme will include 14 Hong Kong comic film adaptations from the 1960s to now, under the themes of 'Iconic Characters', 'Adaptations of Japanese Manga', 'Adaptations of Hong Kong Comics', and 'Animation'. Aside from showcasing the creativity of Hong Kong film and comics, the programme also offers us a renewed appreciation of their longevity as pop culture forms.

The late Mr Alfonso Wong, Prof and Mrs Joseph Chak Wong, Mr Cowman, Mr Melon, Mr Ma Wing-shing, Mr Lun Yu-kwok, the late Mr Hui Guan-man (comic artist), Mr Lin Man-on, Mr Tony Wong Yuk-long, the late Mr Louie Yu Tin, Ms Tracy Louie, Dr Aloisius H. Louie, Mr Lai Ho, Mr Jeffrey Lau, the late Mr Law Bun, Culturecom Limited, Jonesky Limited, Rightman Publishing Limited, Hong Kong Film Company, OMQ ZMEDIA LTD, Asia Animation Limited, Mandarin Motion Pictures Limited, Concord Publishing Limited, Mei Ah Entertainment Group Limited, Fortune Star Media Limited, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Golden Scene Company Limited, Foon Ying Kok, Media Asia Film Distribution (HK) Limited, Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment Group, Park Circus

The contents of the programme do not represent the views of the presenter. The presenter reserves the right to change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary.


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