Screening without China

Transregional Cinematic Smuggling between Cold War Taiwan and Colonial Hong Kong


  • Kenny K. K. Ng Hong Kong Baptist University



Cold War, Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong cinema, film censorship, propaganda, 冷戰, 文化大革命, 香港電影, 電影審查, 政治宣傳


How can research into film policy inform us about the nature of power and cultural politics regarding film censorship? How does censorship affect the aesthetics and identity of film-making produced under political and market constraints? Focusing on the geopolitical regions of British Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China, this article delineates the impact of British colonial film censorship and the politics of cinematically representing revolutionary China during the Cold War. It reveals that British Hong Kong censors changed their strategy in the 1970s and 80s from suppressing mainland Chinese films to inhibiting films that might offend China from screening in Hong Kong. The evidence points to a distinctive picture of transregional smuggling and cinematic boundary-crossing, namely, the dangerous trafficking and interception of movie images, ideologies, and propaganda. Film screening of ‘China’ in Hong Kong and Taiwan was subject to strict official surveillance to quarantine undesirable public visuality and political discourses. The study examines film’s ambiguous expressions of China and Chineseness as it constantly negotiated the factors of colonialism, Chinese nationalism, and Cold War transnational politics.

電影政策的研究如何揭示電影審查的權力機制及其文化政治的本質?在政治和市場的約束下,審查制度又如何影響電影製作的美學和自我定位?本文將聚焦英殖香港、台灣和中國這三個地緣政治區域,探討英國在殖民地實行的電影審查制度的影響,以及冷戰時期電影革命對中國政治的指涉。 1970至80年代期間,英殖香港的電影審查員改變了以往審查策略,從打壓中國大陸的電影變成禁止在香港放映可能會冒犯中國的電影。從這種策略上的改變可以看出跨地域“走私”音像影視對意識形態和宣傳領域的獨特影響。在當時的香港和台灣,放映和觀看有關「中國」的電影受到官方的嚴格監控,以杜絶可能惹是生非的公眾現象和政治話語。本文將呈現冷戰時期的港台電影及其在中國和中國性這兩個概念上模棱兩可的表達,研究在這種視覺記錄中,人們面對和處理殖民主義、中國民族主義和冷戰跨國政治等問題的過程。


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