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Forums Index -> Rated Ex -> It's looking pretty grim: CAT. III No More?
pondo sinatra
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:44 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Jan 2007
Posts: 769
Location: Nagoya Diamond Cutter: Feel The BANG

Since the handover of Hong Kong to China a decade ago, speculation was rife (most of it was ill-informed fanboy speculation up until recently) that Hong Kong's once ubiquitous Category III cinematicc lovelies would go the way of the Dodo.

Even as recently as 2006, Cat. III productions were still popping up (mostly D-T-V) in CD/VCD/DVD shops all over the territory, and hardcore porn was easily, legally, safely obtainable as well. Hong Kong's issues of censorship were much more lax than its former colonizers (the U. K.), which says something. It also contains a film market infinitely more liberal than its neighbors (mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore).

I've witnessed this first hand.

Now it appears the worm is finally turning, starting in the most innocuous of places: journalist's blogs. I can easily see a trickle-down phenomenon occurring as a result of the plight of Oiwan Lam.

Her crime: posting a pretty tasteful photo which featured a woman topless, in pointing out issues with the growing puritanism in media there.

Here's a pretty detailed article from sometime CNN journalist Rebecca MacKinnon about the whole ordeal.

http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2007/07/hong-kong-obsce.html

With something as innocuous as Oiwan Lam's "offense" being brought up on obscenity charges, it definitely puts some credence in thinking the nails in the coffin of one facet of Hong Kong film production are ready to be hammered down in perpetuity.

It's definitely food for thought.
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Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:32 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 18 Feb 2007
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It's somewhat ironic that the dusk of Cat3 starts just as this sort of cinema enters the mainstream. (was it The Butcher who called Hostel a "Category 3 film for the multiplex"?)

Let me guess that the people making Category III films might move to the USA to continue their business there?
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pondo sinatra
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:25 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Jan 2007
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I'd say any migration because of a crackdown that prohibits old-school Cat. III movie production would be non-existent. I can't think of any filmmakers within Hong Kong who set out to carve a career from exclusive Cat. III film production. They wandered into it when an opportunity arose to direct (Herman Yau and THE UNTOLD STORY and EBOLA SYNDROME), by accident (I believe Ringo Lam Ling-tung's PRISON ON FIRE II was originally Cat. III, as was Johnny To Kei-fung's Stephen Chow comedy THE MAD MONK on initial release), or with the occasional intention (the SEX & ZEN films). I'm hard pressed to think of a Hong Kong filmmaker who consciously wanted to go out and make Cat. III films exclusively (and I don't consider folks like Julie Lee to be the norm). A lot of Cat. III films from the mid nineties (when production for them was at an all time high) were often directed by (mostly) guys who worked as assistant directors/camera men/cinematographers/editors on mainstream fare (Ivan Lai, Herman Yau, Billy Chan Hin-sing, Otto Chan, etc.).

What will be interesting is to see how a potential all-out abandoning of Cat. III production based upon Mainland interference in the Hong Kong "obscenity" laws will take away a stepping stone for up-and-coming directors in the S. A. R. and further render it less a territory for film production ad more of a "this is a place where Johnny To, Jackie Chan and triad buddy Albert Yeung's literal media mafia, and Peter Chan's friends make movies, and every blue moon Tsui Hark pops up with something, too."

Immigration - however - will not be happening. I'm confident of this. Namely because:

A.) EVERY Hong Kong director who tried got to face the reality that Hollywood doesn't make movies. It shuffles egos around and occasional comes up with a narrative feature.

B.) Immigration was tough, but since Sept. 11th and with Hitler Bush's right wing American taliban raping the country and fear mongering - legal immigration is now 100% more difficult.

C.) Linguistic barriers.

D.) Many never sought out to make a career in Cat. III production and would be just as happy returning to their old crew gigs on films and television and simply abandon any potential to direct their own films in lieu of staying where their family and friends are while earning an honest living without the politics of Hollywood (this is not to say that Hong Kong film and television production doesn't have its own, unique, fucked up set of politics when it really does).
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Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:49 pm  Reply with quote



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pondo sinatra wrote:
A.) EVERY Hong Kong director who tried got to face the reality that Hollywood doesn't make movies. It shuffles egos around and occasional comes up with a narrative feature.


Yeah, but you have parts of the entire indie circuit circumventing the Hollywood morass completely. Granted, they don't have the same sort of funding, but still.
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pondo sinatra
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:36 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Jan 2007
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Tsotha-lanti wrote:


Yeah, but you have parts of the entire indie circuit circumventing the Hollywood morass completely. Granted, they don't have the same sort of funding, but still.


True, but if you're a foreign filmmaker trying to immigrate to the U. S. to make non-studio films it's not so simple. Then there's the double-whammy of integrating into the society and alone integrating into the independent film scene bursting at the seams with similar talent, limited funding and distribution, etc.
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Caterpillar
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:40 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
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There have been a number of Cat. III films released in HK these past few years but they have almost all been triad/gangster flicks that got their rating for showing triad lifestyles and featuring triad slang.

The Cat. III films that most people associate with the rating are indeed pretty much dead and gone because they can't be distributed in Mainland China. This won't change.

The last "real" Cat. III movie I know if was Herman Yau's GONG TAU.

http://www.gongtau.com/

It's also true that none of the directors who directed any of the films considered Cat. III classics was doing these types of films as his sole source of income. They have all moved on to comedies, action flicks or TV dramas. They are workmen, not gorehounds on a mission. When gross-out stuff was in demand they made gross-out stuff. I'm sure they are all very happy earning a living the way they do now.

And with a number of classic Cat. III films only now finally getting uncut DVD releases (RUN AND KILL in France and Germany, DR. LAMB in Germany, EBOLA SYNDROME - sort of - in the US) I don't see myself stopping being able to blow my money on them.

Let's also not forget that IVL are releasing a lot of Shaw Brothers DVDs that equal or beat any Cat. III film at their own game. Flicks like SEEDING OF A GHOST, BOXER'S OMEN and CORPSE MANIA blow any of the 90ies efforts way out of the water.
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Burpfish
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:42 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 100
Location: Lawton, Oklahoma

There is no real censorship in China. You can go to most DVD stores and find pornographic material. Even easy to find things like Tinto Brass collections, Salo: 120 Days of Sodom, Irreversible, uncut versions of Ichi the Killer, I spit on your Grave, Nekromantik 1 and 2, all the Italian cannibal flicks on a single DVD, Cannibal Holocaust, and the list goes on and on and on. These are just some of the dvds I found while staying here in mainland China.

There is by far more censorship in America. See, you got to remember, there is no rating system here in China. No (c). It is like Heaven for any movie fan.
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Burpfish
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:44 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 100
Location: Lawton, Oklahoma

P.S. I heard several things in the western news saying movies were banned or censored here. And they aren't. Mission Impossible 3... when it first came out was here too and yet I remember reading articles saying Departed and MI 3 were banned or censored. Was Election by Johnny To Cat 3? Lust and Caution, while censored version is out, there is also the UNCUT version Smile
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