Disappearing Voices: An Oral History of Leftist Film Workers during Cold War Hong Kong
Project Title(Chinese) :
Principal Investigator(English) :
Dr Hui, Kwok Wai
Principal Investigator(Chinese) :
Department of Literature and Cultural Studies
The Education University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area :
Humanities and Arts
Exercise Year :
2017 / 18
Fund Approved :
Project Status :
Completion Date :
Abstract as per original application (English/Chinese):
This oral history project aims to document the voices of Hong Kong leftist film workers who were active from 1949 to 1966 and to utilize their voices to reconstruct Cold War Hong Kong history.
The principal investigator adopts the common usage of the term “leftist” during this era, defining leftist film workers as those who worked for the three major leftist film studios and the sole distributor of films made in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Until the mid-1960s, leftists controlled a significant share of the Hong Kong film market, produced popular movies and exported their productions and PRC-made films to other Chinese communities. However, their role in Hong Kong history has not yet received adequate attention. David Faure has pointed out that to understand Hong Kong history, it is urgent for scholars to conduct research on local leftist organizations and to interview their veterans (Faure, 2009).
This project aims to fill this gap by creating the first oral history archives about Hong Kong leftist film workers. The researcher will interview not only prominent actors/actresses, directors and playwrights, but also technicians, painters and administrators of the leftist organizations. Audio records, transcripts and artifacts will be housed permanently in the Education University of Hong Kong and a database will be created. The creation of the archives will contribute to the addition of firsthand sources to the highly limited pool of materials regarding the Hong Kong left. It will benefit historians and scholars in other disciplines who are interested in the development of the city.
The researcher will also write three journal articles using the oral interviews along with untapped archival materials and other written and visual materials to address questions critical to the history of Hong Kong left. These questions include: (1) How did the leftist film workers interact with the colonial government, their Mainland counterparts and the PRC authorities? (2) How did they export Communist revolution to other regions? (3) How did different leftist organizations work with each other for a common cause? By addressing these questions, my articles will contribute to reconstructing the history of Cold War Hong Kong, the role of Hong Kong leftists in disseminating revolutionary ideas in the colony and to other regions, and the institutional history of the leftist organizations. My articles will also use empirical research to contribute to the theoretical discussions about the weaknesses and strengths of oral data as historical sources.