Hong Kong Movie Terms - Page 4

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OCTB - Acronym of Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, the wing of the HK police force that investigates (suprisingly enough) Triad activity. Dramatized in the movie Organized Crime and Triad Bureau.

old-school - Refers to the more traditional kung-fu films of the '60's and '70's.

OOP - Acronym for out of print; refers to rare videos such as the Criterion version of Hard Boiled which are no longer produced.

Opium War(s) - Conflicts fought between Great Britain and China in which Western powers gained significant commercial privileges and territory.

The Opium Wars began when the Chinese government tried to stop the illegal importation of opium by British merchants. The First Opium War started in 1839 when the Chinese government confiscated opium warehouses in Guangzhou (Canton). Britain responded by sending an expedition of warships to the city in February 1840. The British won a quick victory and the conflict was ended by the Treaty of Nanking (Nanjing) on August 29, 1842. By this treaty, and a supplementary one signed on October 8, 1843, China was forced to pay a large indemnity, open five ports to British trade and residence, and cede Hong Kong to Great Britain. The treaty also gave British citizens in China the right to be tried in British courts. Other Western powers demanded, and were granted, similar privileges.

In October 1856, Guangzhou police boarded the British ship Arrow and charged its crew with smuggling. Eager to gain more trading rights, the British used the incident to launch another offensive, precipitating the Second Opium War. British forces, aided by the French, won another quick military victory in 1857. When the Chinese government refused to ratify the Treaty of Tianjin, which had been signed in 1858, the hostilities resumed. In 1860, after British and French troops had occupied Beijing and burned the Summer Palace, the Chinese agreed to ratify the treaty. The treaty opened additional trading ports, allowed foreign emissaries to reside in Beijing, admitted Christian missionaries into China, and opened travel to the Chinese interior. Later negotiations legalized the importation of opium.

(Information reprinted for academic purposes only from the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, (c) 1998 Microsoft)

OUATIC - Acronym for the Jet Li film Once Upon a Time in China, which spawned 5 sequels.

P&S - Acronym for pan-and-scan. Movie screens are wider than they are tall. When they are transferred to video, the images on the screen are chopped on the side and the middle part is expanded to fit the TV screen. Most film purists (myself included) hate this format as it "bastardizes" the original vision of the director, cinematographer and editor. Fans of martial arts and action films also tend to not like the format, since it makes action sequences look more cramped and chaotic.

PAL - Short for Phase Alternating Line, the dominant television standard in Europe. The United States uses a different standard, NTSC. Whereas NTSC delivers 525 lines of resolution at 60 half-frames per second, PAL delivers 625 lines at 50 half-frames per second. Many video adapters that enable computer monitors to be used as television screens support both NTSC and PAL signals.

(defintion from Webopedia)

What this means for HK film fans is that video copies from Asia or Europe may be incompatible with US television sets since the resolution is different.

PC - Short for police constable; a beat cop.

parallel importing - When multiple companies import the same movie into a country. For instance, World Video sells Jet Li's Kung Fu Cult Master, while Arena Video sells a different version called Lord of the Wu-Tang.

passport prison - A country (such as Canada) where people from Hong Kong reluctantly stay to obtain passports and/or citizenship.

passport widow - Someone who stays in a foreign country to obtain citizenship while one of their family members still works in Hong Kong.

pidgin English - Poorly spoken/understood English, mostly comprised of common phrases; usually used by immigrants. As Hong Kong was a British territory, many pidgin English phrases (such as "bye bye") have come to be commonplace in the Cantonese vernacular. Sometimes called (for some reason) "pigeon English." Also referred to as chinglish ("Chinese English") or engrish ("English Chinese"). For a more detailed explanation, click here.

po kai - A Cantonese swear word that loosely translates to "bastard," though it can take other connotations such as "son of a bitch." Sometimes used by itself to express anger.

points - Slang for a woman's nipples. Actresses have become famous for showing (or not showing) their points (e.g., Amy Yip and Chingmy Yau).

PRC - Acronym for the People's Republic of China, the name of modern Communist China.

PTU - Acronym for Police Tactical Unit, the arm of the police force that handles crisis situations (bank robberies, hostage situations, etc.). The SWAT-type force that actually goes in and handles the dirty work in these situations are known as the Special Duties Unit, or SDU. There have been many movies that deal with these teams, specifically their training tactics, known as police procedural movies, such as First Option. For more information, visit this site.

qing - Chinese term for the emotive feelings generated by one's heart. Used to describe someone who goes with their gut instincts rather than logic and will do anything to help their friends. Most heroes in HK movies are personifications of qing.

Qing Dynasty - The time period when the Manchus ruled China. Sometimes spelled as it is pronounced, "Ching." Not to be confused with qing (see above) in any way.

queue - The hairstyle imposed by Manchu rulers on the people of China during their period of rule; shaved in the front with a long braid in the back. Cutting of the braid was considered dishonorable to the Manchus and could result in death. It was also believed by some that the queue contained the "essence" of a person and so by cutting a part of it, so-called "sorcerers" could take a person's soul and compel them do things.

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