This course examines the built environment through filmic representations of the city. It interrogates the urban landscape looking at various cities and considering the historical, social, economic and political influences that have created their existing conditions. It is interested in both insider and outsider perspectives and the modes of filmic representation used to express particular moods and critiques. Students have been tasked to also use film to develop their own critical reflection of Hong Kong. Below you will find the final films that groups created showing the multiplicity of HK and the various perspectives of the city. -- The work presented is from the Spring 2022 course taught at CUHK.
"This short film is about the preservation and revitalization of old residential buildings, particularly the Blue House, Wan Chai and Mei Ho House, Shek Kip Mei. These two buildings were chosen as both of them still retain their original residential use partially even after the revitalisation projects. Moreover, both buildings have great historical and cultural value - the Blue House, a Grade I historic building, was a very typical tong lau in the 20th century; and Mei Ho House, a Grade II historic building, was the first H-shaped public housing building. We hope we can remind people of the history of the select buildings. In addition, we would like the audience to reflect upon the importance of heritage preservation and the possible consequences of poorly done revitalization."
"Skateboarders look for the potential of the spaces for practicing. They shape an environment through their use of space. As a result, Hong Kong’s skateboard culture has thrived in these years at these potential spaces that were not planned advanced.
This documentary records the experience of a senior skateboarder in Hong Kong and explores how they utilize the public space and the challenges they have faced. One such challenge, the business of the streets during the daytime is why they usually skateboard at night, which leads us to a key argument of the documentary: how the role of the public space changes at different times of day."
"Speaking of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage, many citizens may immediately think of Chinese opera and lion dance performances. To us, what comes to our mind are the “real local people”, those who, for many generations, were born and have lived their whole lifetimes in the space composed of both tangible and intangible elements of Hong Kong’s indigeneous culture. A majority of Hong Kong citizens in presently live under rapid urban development and enjoy modern lifestyles. Isolated from the busy crowded city centre, there is an indigenous population found in the rural villages of the New Territories. We believe that this film can provide a way to understand more about the indigenous habitats in Hong Kong."
"The film is a presentation of Tong Laus as hybrids of new and old- with traditional timber or brick structures and trendy western decorative elements like the fences and handrails. In contemporary times, Tong Laus are known as heritage, yet they've adapted to this new age. Some of them naturally absorbed the contemporary settings by renting the place to modern shops. Some of them are given new meanings, new purposes through revitalisations. Either way, tong laus remain an important part of Hong Kong’s cityscape, for their embodiment of the old and new, the memories and connections of this place."
"Hong Kong’s urban life is truly immersed in the verticality of this forest of skyscrapers.The city is built within its hilly landscape and the buildings are mashed together with incredible density.To get from destination to A to B, one might pass up and down a number of unexpected diverse spaces from street to street: MTR, walkways, shopping malls, street markets, etc. and one needs to ascend and descend many transitional spaces such as stairs, escalators and elevators.Therefore, the urban form of Hong Kong may be described as 'dense, vertical and vibrant'."
"The flaneur, the explorer who walks through the streets, the stroller who spectates life, the artist who wove himself into the urban fabric ... We took inspiration from this flaneur in making the film, although a hundred years apart from Baudelaire's, separated by steel and concrete, why not aimlessly walk along the streets of Hong Kong? Unexpected twists, surprising turns, comforting slices of life ... we can experience a lot on foot in Hong Kong, we can be amblers of the city."
"In this film, we would like to highlight hostile architecture in Hong Kong, our bustling city. We focus on two main examples, “The Lonely Dragon Chair” and Tung Chau Street Park in order to show how ubiquitous this form of architecture is and the problems it exacerbates with homelessness. With a better understanding of defensive architecture, we would like to unveil the hidden agenda behind their installation and arouse public awareness on social issues such as homelessness. Hostile architecture does not help alleviate these issues but rather creates more discriminatory public spaces that are a detriment to all residents in Hong Kong."
"In the mid 20th century, Hong Kong began its transformation from a fishing harbor into an international metropolis. Today, the city is frequently depicted and seen as a bustling city, with a distinct urban way of life lived by the vast majority of residents. Behind this hustle and bustle, however, lies a rural way of life, lived by a small and specific group of people. Even with all the benefits and conveniences of the urban lifestyle, there are still people who opt for the rural way of life. We wonder how the two lifestyles compare against each other, and ultimately, the allure for each of them."
"During February 2020, the coronavirus became prevalent in Hong Kong, and since then it has continuously affected many different operations. The global surge of this pandemic caused widespread fear and anxiety. The public was panicked and events led to the eventual large-scale lockdown that would enable universal testing for Covid-19. The uncertainty caused by the mysterious epidemic created wide scale fear that transformed our social behaviour and general societal demeanour. It affected the economy of the country, social values, and psychological stress. The film presents a critique of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the public spaces in Hong Kong, which we realize are more important than ever."