Dr Kwok-kwan Kenny Ng
Associate Professor & Director of Centre for Film and Moving Image Research
Academy of Film
- (852) 3411 8233
From studying comparative literature at the University of Washington and earning a doctorate in East Asian languages and civilisation at Harvard University, to venturing into cinema and literary studies early in his academic career, Dr Kenny Ng’s journey in the academe has led him to investigate the cultural politics of Chinese-language cinemas.
Dr Ng is an Associate Professor at the Academy of Film. He is currently working on a monograph, The Cultural Cold War and Contested Chineseness in Hong Kong Cinema, supported by the Hong Kong University Grants Committee's Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship. Dr Ng is one of only nine 2019/20 awardees across Hong Kong. Conventional scholarship on the Cold War privileges diplomatic, military, and political history. Dr Ng’s book, however, shifts the focus of investigation from elite politics to popular culture and cinematic expression. How did Cold War popular culture and marketism shape the ethics and aesthetics of filmmaking by individual filmmakers and groups? Dr Ng examines how creative people moved beyond ideological divides and deployed dynamics of storytelling, image-building, interactive listening and performing to appeal to disparate Chinese audiences and tastes. By unveiling how filmmakers exploited mass culture and media in rapidly commercialising Chinese societies, the study reveals the tension between political rhetoric and cultural representations.
Another recent study examined the impact of British film censorship and colonial cultural policy on Hong Kong cinema in the postwar era. “Besides political and social factors, I am concerned about issues of aesthetics and the artistic performance of film as an artefact, the intellectual pursuits of filmmakers who produced their works against commercial and political constraints, and the social and educational functions of film,” Dr Ng says. He has received General Research Fund (GRF) grants from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, and grants from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council multiple times.
A book project he is just finishing explores how ideology and political idealism shaped the ethics and aesthetics of postwar Hong Kong cinema. Dr Ng analyses the migratory and creative experiences of exiled intellectuals, filmmakers, and cultural entrepreneurs, for whom cinematic sights and sounds became the embattled cultural venues of their moral and intellectual visions. In the book, Dr Ng queries the notion of “Chineseness” and argues that the understanding of “Chineseness” should not be reduced to the placing of political allegiances over the organic expressions of local and cultural identities.
“These current projects lead me to explore my interest in film censorship, cultural policy, screen adaptation, historical imagination, comparative literature, critical theory and aesthetics,” Dr Ng says. “I want to share my interests with scholars in the fields of diaspora, global Sinophone, transnational Chinese cinema, and Hong Kong studies.” He hopes his work will blur national boundaries and break regional barriers in film and media studies.
- Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme: The Cultural Cold War and Contested Chineseness in Hong Kong Cinema (2019)
- General Research Fund: “Cold War Cosmopolitanism: Chang Kuo-sin’s Asia Enterprises and Cultural Legacies (2018)
- General Research Fund: “The Sound of Politics: Cantophone Cinema in 1930s-1960s (2017)
- Hong Kong Arts Development Council Grant: Colonial Film Censorship: Chinese Politics in Hong Kong Cinema (2017)
- General Research Fund: Colonial Censorship and the Cultural Politics of Hong Kong Cinema in the Cold War (2014)
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Cold War Culture, Chinese Ghost, and Hong Kong Allegory.” Hong Kong 1960s. Ed. Wong, Shuk-han. Taipei: Wenhsun, 2020. 121-148.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Eternal Return of Mythology: The White (Green) Snake Legend in Maoist China and Colonial Hong Kong.” Chinese Shock of the Anthropocene: Image, Music and Text in the Age of Climate Change. Eds. Lo, Kwai-Cheung & Jessica Yeung. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 83–107.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Archeology of ‘Brainwashing’: Trafficking of an Idea and a Hong Kong-produced Story.” Hong Kong Keywords: Imagine the New Future. Ed. Chu, Yiu-wai. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2019. 157-170
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Li Jieren’s Fiction and Ripples on Dead Water.” Routledge Handbook of Modern Chinese Literature. Ed. Gu, Mingdong. New York: Routledge, 2019. 72-83.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “A World Garden City in the New Millennium: Chengdu at the Crossroads of Verbal Representation and Global Vision.” Ideas of the City in Asian Settings. Eds. Bekkering, Henco, Adèle Esposito & Charles Goldblum. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019. 209-244.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Hong Kong Independent Cinema in the Post-Handover Era.” Ex-position 42 (2019): 71-74.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Looking through My Fly's-Eye View: Chan Tze-woon's Documentary of the 2014 Umbrella Movement.” Ex-position 42 (2019): 89-117.
- Ng, Kwok-kwan (吳國坤). “Love in the Time of Chaos: Southbound Literatus Yi Wen and His Romantic Love Fiction and Film” (安於亂世，兒女情長：南來文人易文的言情小說與電影). O-square 1 (2019): 192–215.
- Ng, Kwok-kwan (吳國坤). “Long Live The Platinum Dragon: Xue Juexian and the Politics of Sound and Dialect in Early Cantonese Cinema” (永續 “白金龍”：薛覺先與早期粵語電影的方言及聲音政治). Journal of Beijing Film Academy 7 (2019): 24–32.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Way of The Platinum Dragon: Xue Juexian and the Sound of Politics in 1930s Cantonese Cinema.” Kaleidoscopic Histories: Early Film Culture in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Republican China. Ed. Yeh, Emilie Y.Y. Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press, 2018. 156–176.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Colonial Censorship and the Cultural Politics of Chinese-language Cinemas in the Cold War.” Palgrave Handbook on Asian Cinema. Eds. Marchetti, Gina et al. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 307-327.
- Ng, Kwok-kwan (吳國坤). “The Road to Perdition: Li Jieren’s 1950s Rewriting of the 1911 Revolution in Sichuan” (到地獄之路—李劼人20世紀50年代對四川辛亥革命的改寫). Modern Chinese Culture and Literature 3 (2018): 218–33.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Censorship at Work: Cold War Paranoia and Purgation of Chinese Ghost Stories.” Hong Kong Culture and Society in the New Millennium: Hong Kong as Method. Ed. Chu, Yiu-wai. Singapore: Springer, 2017. 111–128.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Resurrection of Female Ghosts from Classical Chinese Opera and the Hollywood Tradition in Cantonese Cinema.” Fantômes dans l’Extrême-Orient d’hier et d’aujourd’hui (Ghosts in the Far East in the Past and Present). Eds. Durand-Dastès, Vincent & Marie Laureillard. Paris: les Presses de l’Inalco, 2017. 421–443.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Migrant Voice: Writing Diaspora between Sinophone and Anglophone Scripts.” Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese 14.1 (2017): 123-160.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Long and the Short: Generic Contestation and Fictional Boundaries in May Fourth.” Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 38 (2016): 107–30.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Ending as Beginning: Chinese Translation of Edward Bellamy’s Utopian Novel Looking Backward: 2000–1887.” Frontiers of Literary Studies in China 10.1 (2016): 9–35.
- 吳國坤，〈戰後香港粵語片的左翼烏托邦: 以中聯改編文學名著為例〉，載《當代電影》，7月號 (2016)，頁94-100。
- Ng, Kwok-kwan Kenny. The Lost Geopoetic Horizon of Li Jieren: The Crisis of Writing Chengdu in Revolutionary China. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
- 吳國坤，〈大鳥吃小蠅—地方記憶及對李劼人《暴風雨前》的另類讀法〉，載《現代中文學刊》，2月號第34期 (2015)，頁78-90。
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “From Global Colonialism to Global Coloniality.” Localities 2 (2012): 355-359.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Critical Sentimentalism: A Preliminary Inquiry into Union Film’s Recreation of Western Literary Classics.” One for All: The Union Film Spirit. Ed. Ng, Grace. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Film Archive, 2011. 86-97.
- 吳國坤，〈以影犯禁：冷戰，瘟疫，諜戰〉，載《中國文學學報》，2月號 (2011)，頁313-326。
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Last Epic Storyteller and his Fictional Rewriting in People’s Republic of China.” The Intellectual: A Phenomenon in Multidimensional Perspectives. Eds. Basov, Nikita and Georg F. Simet. Oxfordshire: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010. 137-144.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Temporality and Polyphony in Li Jieren’s The Great Wave.” Chinese Revolution and Chinese Literature. Ed. Tao, Dongfeng. Middlesex: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. 197-224.
- 吳國坤，〈語言、地域、地緣政治：試論五、六十年代國泰/電懋的都市喜劇〉，載《電影欣賞學刊》，第140期 (2009)，頁96-112。
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Screenwriter as Cultural Broker: Travels of Zhang Ailing’s Comedy of Love.” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 20.2 (2008): 131-184.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Inhibition vs. Exhibition: Political Censorship of Chinese and Foreign Cinemas in Postwar Hong Kong.” Journal of Chinese Cinemas 2.1 (2008): 23–35.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “The Romantic Comedies of Cathay/MP&GI in the 1950s and 60s: Language, Locality, and Urban Character.” Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media 49 (2007): 1-17.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Critical Realism and Peasant Ideology: The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan.” Chinese Culture 39.1 (1998): 109-146.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Metafiction, Cannibalism, and Political Allegory: Wineland by Mo Yan.” Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese 1.2 (1998): 121-148.
- Ng, Kenny K.K. “Allegorical Interpretation: Red Sorghum by Mo Yan.” Tamkang Review 27.3 (1997): 343-382.