Hong Kong Movie Terms - Page 2

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face - Asian term for respect ("to give face" is to give someone respect or treat them honorably).

fai lo - Cantonese for "fatty" or "fatso"; usually the nickname of characters played by rotund actors like Kent Cheng and Sammo Hung.

Kent ChengSammo Hung

fellow - Term for a Triad member, usually one of low rank; a thug.

feng shui - A belief where one believes that one obtains power/protection/good luck from the certain placement of a house/building and the things in it.

fever - Slang for party/wild sexual encounter.

filth - Acronyminal criminal slang term for Hong Kong used by international criminals; "fail in London, try in Hong Kong".

flower vase roles - Roles in movies given to pretty actresses where they basically act as a good-looking backdrop.

flying paper - Refers to the fairly common practice in Hong Kong film-making of making up scripts as the filming goes along; probably the most well-known practitioner of this is Wong Jing.

Forbidden City - A huge walled installation in Bejing where the emperor resided.

Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop - Four popular singers/actors -- Aaron Kwok, Jacky Cheung, Leon Lai and Andy Lau (pictured from left to right below). The term was invented by TVB during 1991/92 when the quartet's individual singing careers took off. Their popularity lasted for a long period until the last 2 years or so when it suddenly plummeted -- because of this, the term is rarely heard now.


With the new group of stars popping up, there is now a group known as the Four Young Kings of Cantopop. They are (pictured left to right): Nicholas "Nic" Tse, Leo Koo, Daniel Chan and Stephen Fung.


Fukien - A Chinese province well-known for its' criminal activity.

gag - An action sequence which concentrates on a particular prop or gimmick (i.e., Jackie Chan's "ladder fight" in Police Story 4: First Strike).

girls-with-guns - An offshoot of the heroic bloodshed (see below) genre featuring female characters.

gor - Cantonese for big brother (see above); also used with a name to designate respect or friendship (e.g., Chow Yun-Fat might be referred to as "Fat Gor").

gray market - Stores or websites that sell things not usually available, like director's cuts or uncut versions of films by circumventing copyright laws. Usually their videos are overpriced and have bad quality.

gun-fu - Exaggerated, acrobatic, extremely choreographed gunfighting (e.g., John Woo).

gun running - Guns are illegal in Hong Kong, so many criminals run guns to get money.

golden slots - The prime movie premiere dates; late summer, Christmas, and Lunar New Year.

GoG - Acronym for the movie God of Gamblers.

Golden Triangle - An area in Asia encompassing parts of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand that supplies most of the world's opium.

gweilo or gwailo - Literally, "Ghost Man" or "white devil"; a term for a white westerner (sometimes used derogatively). Used to describe a non-Asian fighter in a martial arts film, such as Richard Norton or Cynthia Rothrock. A more "politically correct" term would be sai yan (western person).


heng dai - Term used to describe the relationship between brothers (both through blood and crime).

heroic bloodshed - A somewhat generic term first used by UK fanzine editor Rick Baker given to films (usually in the crime genre) that feature an emphasis on the relationships between cop/criminal, father/son, brother/brother, etc. There is also usually a high level of violence in the form of high-powered gun fights and/or beatdowns. Some well-known directors of this genre include John Woo, Ringo Lam and Kirk Wong.

HK - Acronym for Hong Kong.

HKer - Someone from Hong Kong.

HKFA - Acronym for the Hong Kong Film Awards, HK's equivalent of the Oscars.

HKIFF - Acronym for the Hong Kong International Film Festival, a prestigious event held yearly.

HKJC - Acronym for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the organization in charge of regulating horse racing in HK. Racing is a popular sport in HK, with over US$10 billion bet yearly on races, which places it just behind America and Japan.

HKMDB - Acronym for the Hong Kong Movie Database, the largest internet site for Hong Kong movies. Found at http://www.hkmdb.com.

HKSAR - Acronym for Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region (see below); in discussion about films, this refers to ones made after the 1997 handover to China.

Hung Hom - A district in Kowloon (see below) known for its low property values and high Triad activity.

honey lips - Sweet talk; usually used derogatively ("Save your honey lips for someone that cares").

Hongkie - Someone from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's golden age - Refers to the period between 1986 (after the release of A Better Tomorrow) and 1993 (when Jurassic Park became the top-grossing film), when Hong Kong film production was at an all-time high.

Hong Kong new wave - Term used for the films made by the first "wave" of filmmakers (such as Tsui Hark) who were either trained in or drew their influence from the West. It has since been re-used to designate more "modern" films (like those of Wong Kar-Wai) that explore characterization while using slick camera techniques.

hostess club - A bar where men pay to drink with good-looking women (hostesses or PR [public relation] girls); often the transactions will lead to sexual encounters. Basically a glorified brothel, though there are some legitimate clubs where sexual contact is not allowed.

Hung Hing or Hung Society - The name of the largest Triad gang in Hong Kong.

ice - Slang for illegal drugs.

ICAC - Acronym for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which is like Hong Kong's version of the "internal affairs" arm of a US police department. The official site can be found at http://www.icac.org.hk/.

ICQ - A way to chat over the internet; sometimes used by pirates to exchange movies.

idol - An extremely popular actor (usually with teenagers). Many times, they are pop stars as well. A couple of examples are Ekin Cheng and Andy Lau.

idol machine - The system for creating big stars by giving new actors singing contracts (or vice versa), putting them on magazine covers, getting them on talk shows, etc. Sometimes referred by the Cantonese phrase ge ying shi ("music, film, TV").

IMDB - Acronym for the Internet Movie Database, one of the biggest film sites on the web, found at http://www.imdb.com. Unfortunately, their entries for Hong Kong movies/stars are often inaccurate.

IRD - Acronym for the Internal Revenue Department, Hong Kong's version of the IRS.

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