David Bordwell's website on cinema   click for CV




Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder

On the History of Film Style pdf online

Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling

Film Art: An Introduction

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages pdf online

Pandora’s Digital Box: Films, Files, and the Future of Movies pdf online

Planet Hong Kong, second edition pdf online

The Way Hollywood Tells It pdf online

Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Figures Traced In Light

Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907–1934 pdf online


Hou Hsiao-hsien: A new video lecture!

CinemaScope: The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses

How Motion Pictures Became the Movies

Constructive editing in Pickpocket: A video essay


Rex Stout: Logomachizing

Lessons with Bazin: Six Paths to a Poetics

A Celestial Cinémathèque? or, Film Archives and Me: A Semi-Personal History

Shklovsky and His “Monument to a Scientific Error”

Murder Culture: Adventures in 1940s Suspense

The Viewer’s Share: Models of Mind in Explaining Film

Common Sense + Film Theory = Common-Sense Film Theory?

Mad Detective: Doubling Down

The Classical Hollywood Cinema Twenty-Five Years Along

Nordisk and the Tableau Aesthetic

William Cameron Menzies: One Forceful, Impressive Idea

Another Shaw Production: Anamorphic Adventures in Hong Kong

Paolo Gioli’s Vertical Cinema

(Re)Discovering Charles Dekeukeleire

Doing Film History

The Hook: Scene Transitions in Classical Cinema

Anatomy of the Action Picture

Hearing Voices

Preface, Croatian edition, On the History of Film Style

Slavoj Žižek: Say Anything

Film and the Historical Return

Studying Cinema


Book Reports

Observations on film art

A many-splendored thing 6: Tourist interlude

Sunday | April 1, 2007   open printable version open printable version


Hong Kong island, seen from the harbor.

Tourist images, plus a tribute to Gor-Gor

I thought I’d use one blog to squeeze together some tourist views that I snapped since my arrival for the Hong Kong International Film Festival on 17 March. I never get tired of looking at, and photographing, this amazing city. For you film geeks, I’ve added a coda on a sad movie topic.

Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong island, some other outlying islands, and the Kowloon peninsula, plus the New Territories north of Kowloon. You can shuttle between the main island and the peninsula by taxi, by subway, or by ferry. Like many locals and most tourists, I prefer the ferry because it yields gorgeous views like the one above.

But the ferry to the Central area of Hong Kong island has been redirected. The old terminal has been closed so that more land can be reclaimed from the harbor for highways and skyscrapers. A new, Disneyfied terminal has been erected in its place further down the shore. It looks like cardboard in daylight but can be pretty at night.


Still, the old terminal wasn’t given up without protest.


In front of the old terminal, where City Hall stands, there used to be lots of people hanging out. Now the place is largely empty because of all the construction. What remains are the metal silhouettes sitting, mobilephoning, and practicing tai chi.


A city devoted to shopping, Hong Kong has its own equivalent of the medieval cathedral: the shopping mall. Festival Walk, one of the biggest, has a large ice rink. Here’s one of my favorites, some of the twelve floors of the Times Square mall. But why is Lane Crawford everywhere here? What is Lane Crawford?


Grandiosity doesn’t afflict only mall architecture. The Bank of China, designed by I. M. Pei, was the biggest thing going when I first came in 1995. Now it’s dwarfed by Two International Finance Centre (in the right foreground at top of entry), which looks like the box the Bank came in. Pei’s zigzag symmetries and asymmetries are still mighty impressive, though.


In my neighborhood, Yau Ma Tei in Kowloon, the new construction thrusts ever higher. This is a view from the twelfth floor of my hotel.


Later this year west Kowloon will house a building 60 meters higher than the International Finance Centre. It will be, at least for a time, the tallest building in the world. Even multi-bean snacks start to look monumental here.


On the bus, things shrink to a more human scale. This is from my daily ride down Nathan Road to the Cultural Centre and the ferry. Two International Finance Centre is dimly visible in the left distance.


One movie note: Today was the fourth anniversary of the death of Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, who committed suicide at the Mandarin Hotel in Central. He was one of Hong Kong’s most popular stars, seen in Days of Being Wild, Happy Together, A Chinese Ghost Story, He’s a Woman She’s a Man, and many other classics. Every year fans erect floral tributes along the sidewalk.



Thanks to Akiko Tetsuya and Yvonne Teh for guiding me to this moving display.

So much for tourism. Next time, back to the festival.


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