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Transcultural Spaces of a Vanishing Hong Kong: Johnnie To's Sparrow

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When Sparrow premiered in Hong Kong during early 2008 and later at the Berlin Film Festival, most audiences and critics noted a distinct difference from the other types of films associated with Johnnie To Kei-fung. the director made a surprisingly lightweight romantic comedy thriller far removed from his usual style and themes. Sparrow is also a film requiring that its audiences see the presence of familiar landmarks which may no longer exist. Sparrow also expects audiences to actively hear familiar songs from the past, both Cantonese and Western, that may also be transitory in a changing world characterized by a cultural clash between past and present values.

Keywords: Hong Kong; Johnnie To Kei-Fung; Sparrow; challenging global values; crisis film

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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