This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Hong Kong New Wave Wuxia Pian Films and their Contribution to Hong Kong's National Agency During the 1980s and Early 1990s




Walters, Mark

Type of Degree



Communication and Journalism


This thesis uses a national agency approach to analyze seminal Hong Kong New Wave wuxia pian films from directors Tsui Hark and Cheng Xiaodong. Martial arts films are a popular genre of films in Hong Kong, and wuxia pian films comprise a unique sub-genre that use wire-assisted choreography, special effects, and fantasy elements. Hark and Cheng both began their careers with wuxia pian films and continued to work in that genre throughout their careers. The popularity and critical acclaim of their films within such a long standing and traditional genre is significant, and their visual styles have influenced countless martial arts films from countries all over the world. Using two films by Hark and three films by Cheng, made between the years of 1979 and 1992, this thesis will analyze the films according to their visual elements, generic elements, and production elements in order to assess their contribution to Hong Kong’s national agency. This thesis concludes that the wuxia pian films of Hark and Cheng represent a genre of film unique to Hong Kong during the 1980s and early 1990s and that they helped define life in Hong Kong during a period of transition and uncertainty through their visual elements and inclusion of themes relevant to Hong Kong audiences.