Hong Kong Movie Terms - Page 6

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UFO - Acronym for United Filmmakers Organization, a production company known for quality films with the youth as its target audience. The films were very contemporary in nature and delved into the relationships of today's youth/yuppies in HK. The films tend to be very glossy, sleek and sophisticated with a very heavy Western influence. Some of their well-known films include Days of Being Dumb, Comrades: Almost a Love Story and He's a Woman, She's a Man.

uncle/aunt - In Chinese society, it is common to use "uncle" or "aunt" as a term of endearment/respect for those older than you (similar to how Westerners use "mister" or "sir"); used by Triads to give respect to those higher up in rank. "Aunt" is also used to designate the madam of a brothel.

undercranking - A method used during the filming of fight scenes where fewer frames are shot per second as to make the actors' movements appear faster.

VCD - Acronym for Video CD. The most popular form of home video in Asia, mostly due to its low cost. Easily copied, it is a favorite medium for bootleggers, who often release copies of films currently playing in cinemas. For more information, please consult my VCD FAQ.

VSOM - Acronym for Video Search of Miami. They supposedly offer hard-to-find titles at reasonable prices, but when you look at them carefully all they really offer is 3rd or 4th generation dubs at $25 or more. In my opinion, VSOM is little more than a glorified pirating organization that tries to curtail copyright laws by portraying themselves as a "club." Run by the same guy who publishes ACC.

wah - A Cantonese word used for surprise or a call for attention to something (i.e., "Wah! That girl is really pretty!").

wei - A Cantonese word used to answer the telephone or to get someone's attention (i.e, "Wei! You dropped your wallet!")

White Lotus Sect - Also known as the White Lotus Society, this was a group of revolutionaries dedicated to getting rid of foreign influennce in China during the Boxer Rebellion (see above). Many of them believed they had supernatural powers and thus were invincible to even bullets. There was a similar group known as the Red Lantern Sect, which was comprised of females. Both groups were featured in the Once Upon a Time in China movies.

white-on-white subtitles - Subtitles in Hong Kong movies are often not given very high importance, so they are just simply printed onto the frame (sometimes this process' result is called burnt on subtitles). Since the subtitles are white, they can bleed into light background colors and be hard to read. Note the picture below: the subtitles over the man's dark-colored shirt are easy to read, but the ones over the light-colored wall are hard to read. Since most home copies of Hong Kong movies simply use the film source print, this is a problem with many videocassettes, VCDs and cheap DVDs.

movie still

wire-fu - Generic name for martial arts films which feature lots of exaggerated high-flying action generated through the use of wires (e.g., Iron Monkey).

Wong Fei-Hung - A martial arts master who was dedicated to helping the "common" people, he has been given folk-hero status ala Davy Crockett or Paul Revere. Wong's character has been made into over 100 films, including Jackie Chan's Drunken Master and Jet Li's Once Upon a Time in China.

wu shu - Generic name for mainland (northern) Chinese martial arts (translates roughly to "crafts of combat") which emphasize lower-body moves (aka Northern Fist); practiced by, among others, Jet Li.

Wu-Tang Clan - A clan of fighting Buddhist monks portrayed in a series of movies. Made popular by the rap group of the same name.

wuxia - Term for the hero in a swordplay movie.

wuxia pian - Term for the "swordplay" genre, personified by films such as the Swordsman trilogy (pictured below). They are often based on ancient tales and feature high-flying kung fu sequences.

X.O. - A high-class cognac; since it is aged for a long time, it is sometimes used to call somebody old ("you're too X.O. to change now.").

Y&D - Abbreviation for the popular film series Young and Dangerous.

ya qui - Term for the code of brotherhood demonstrated in many HK crime dramas.

Yakuza - Japanese crime families similar to the American Mafia. They often sport colorful tattoos and have the tradition of cutting fingers or committing suicide if they fail in a task.

Yuen Clan - Movies made by or starring the Yuen Brothers (the names are sometimes confused), sons of Simon Yuen (the crazy sifu from Drunken Master, which are: Simon Yuen, Jr., Sunny Yuen, Yuen Cheung-Yan, Brandy Yuen and Yuen Woo-Ping, and various members of their stunt team.

ying wen - Cantonese for "English language."

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