The return of Hong Kong to China was accompanied by some concern for its film industry, but a change was still necessary even before the Hanover, the official transfer of sovereignty that took place on July 1, 1997. Whatever the issues raised in the cinema Hong Kong from the return to China (restrictions of creative freedom, potential gains from the Chinese mainland market, preservation of Hong Kong’s language and culture), none of them modifies the fact that the very popular local film industry is already losing its polish.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Hong Kong film industry was solid and incredibly popular. The average annual production was about two hundred films, which enjoyed an astonishing popularity among local audiences, overseas Chinese and cinema fans from all over Asia. But in the mid-1990s, Hong Kong cinema was already losing local audiences to Hollywood films, and its overseas popularity was also weakening. With the increase in piracy and the decline in public support, the Hong Kong filmmakers had to adapt. As you now watch free movies online you will be having the best options for exploring more.
Thus, to replace the weakened genera they developed new ones. Martial arts and swashbuckling costumes began to lose ground, and spectators turned to modern comedies and romantic stories, while sagas about the youths of the triads like Young and Dangerous saw their popularity increase. But after a while the triad films lost public favor and, ironically, the first major post-handover film represented a kind of criticism of that film genre, without having the intention; in his Made in Hong Kong (1997), Fruit Chan disassembled the triad films with a vision focused on real local problems.
The New Wave
Filmed using film remains, the independent Made in Hong Kong had a stylistic debt to the arthouse author Wong Kar-wai but also established his own identity by exploring the emotions and anxieties caused by the transition to China. The film, the story of a young and inconclusive gangster who becomes friends with a terminally ill adolescent, explored the themes of personal identity, the beginning and the end and the individual grappling with the futility of all this. The Hong Kong films have been expressing the anxiety connected to the Hanover for some time, but Made in Hong Kong made the metaphors more immediate and crude, largely due to its proximity to the event.
Martial arts and martial arts were the main commodity of exportation to the West, but after the passage to China these genres slowed down and the appreciation of the international public was oriented towards the detective genre. Post-Handover crime films were not very different from their forerunners, but the passage seemed to have accentuated its absolute gloom. In addition, the films frequently contained metaphors on tensions between Hong Kong and mainland China, and dealt with issues concerning the psyche and identity. Ringo Lam presented these dynamics in Full Alert (1997), which with great incisiveness faded the line of separation between its two protagonists, the cop and the criminal. For the 123movies this is very important.