The new wave cinema movement emerged around the world from the 50s to the 80s as a rejection of conventional cinematic production techniques and narratives, which many young filmmakers saw as formulaic and played out. New wave films often eschewed conventional narrative patterns in favour of non-linear storytelling focused on feelings rather than a plot, used non-professional actors, and experimented heavily with the way that shots were framed and filmed.
However, Hong Kong's new wave cinema movement was arguably more restrained by financial considerations than its regional contemporaries, as the production of many films were financed primarily by pre-sales. This resulted in several key stylistic differences – a tendency to stay within traditional genres, the casting of celebrity actors, and a lack of the 'stillness' that made other new wave titles from abroad conceptually interesting yet challenging to watch. As such, films from Hong Kong new wave are more down-to-earth and accessible than one might expect; it's more than likely that you've watched many new wave films without even knowing it. But despite restrictions, these directors still produced progressive films that ultimately pushed the envelope for cinema forward. By Ethan Lam
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