Essay Example on Similarities and Differences in a Mainland China Films and Hong Kong Films

Published: 2022-04-07
Essay Example on Similarities and Differences in a Mainland China Films and Hong Kong Films
Type of paper:  Research proposal
Categories:  Movie
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1389 words
12 min read

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This paper is a research proposal of PhD application in the area of film studies. It outlines the chosen research topic, provides a background to the study, specifies the study goal and objectives, and explains the research methods that will be used.

Topic of Research Proposal

Similarities and differences in a Mainland China Films and Hong Kong Films


Films in Mainland China and Hong Kong have all been created by people of Chinese descent, yet they have many distinctive differences due to geographical and cultural variations. One of the factors that movies from these two locations portray prominently is cultural difference. In the past, the audience in Mainland China celebrated movies from Hong Kong because they found their conservative nature interesting (Aranburu, 2017). Movies from Hong Kong depict Chinese as reserved while those from the Mainland show them as outgoing and adventurous. For this reason, the current generation of Chinese in the Mainland China considers Hong Kong culture backward, and, thus, their films (Qiu, Lin, & Leung, 2012). Due to this perception, the Mainland no longer casts their movies in Hong Kong as the 20th-century stars such as Jackie Chan Wong Kar-wai' and Bruce (Ding, 2009; Lee, 2004). Going into the future, it is possible to tell that films from mainland China will continue to override the few from Hong Kong because of the growing popularity of Mainland Chinese culture ("Something Is Changing in Hong Kong Cinema: 4+1 Filmmakers Who Prove It," 2017).

However, films from Mainland China and Hong Kong style have a similar cinematic style. Studies suggest that for the last two decades, film talents have been Hong Kong to the Mainland China to tap into the growing market. The trend is partly responsible for the apparent decline of the film industry in Hong Kong and its rise in the Mainland China (Nilsson, 2015). As the movie creators moved to the Mainland China, they carried along the cinematic styles that they used in Hong Kong. Moreover, although the millennial talent keeps modifying the Chinese cinematic style to appeal to the new generation of viewers, the changes happen similarly in both Mainland China and Hong Kong film industries because of proximity (Ge, 2018). Therefore, the same principles in cinematic style govern the industry in both countries.

The depiction of each of the groups in films impacts on individual behavior and gender of viewers. The influence, however, differs according to the background culture of the audience and how the group is represented in the film (Cline, 1972). In Hong Kong, the films instilled in individuals a mixed culture with Chinese and British traditions. However, because of its conservative culture, the film industry has had a little impact on gender roles in Hong Kong (Blundy, 2018). Similarly, films have influenced individual behavior in the Mainland China, where people have developed behaviors that incorporate western culture into Chinese traditional ways of life. Unlike Hong Kong, films have significantly transformed gender roles in the Mainland China, where there have been more measures to promote gender equality. Nonetheless, women have gained freedom in career choice, interpersonal relationship, and income in both of the countries since the 1970's.

Objective of Study

The goal of this study is to determine the similarities and differences in Mainland China films and Hong Kong films. To reach the desired end, the research will focus on the following four objectives:

To determine the cultural differences in Mainland China films and Hong Kong films.

To compare the principles in the cinematic style used in Mainland China films and Hong Kong films.

To determine the group impact on individual behaviors and gender roles in Mainland China films and Hong Kong films.

Methodology of Study

This research is a comparative qualitative analysis. It will use both quantitative and qualitative data from Mainland China and Hong Kong to explore the research objectives. Contention over the similarity of films made in Mainland China and Hong Kong is the ground for this comparison. Accordingly, the frame of reference for the study is Mainland China and Hong Kong. The specific variables that the study seeks to explore are a cultural difference, the principles in cinematic style, and the group impact on individual behaviours and gender roles.

The study will compare three films from each of the two countries. For the research to find explanations for the phenomenon under inquiry, it will investigate the chosen samples in detail. Since the research focuses on doing an in-depth analysis, it has to conduct qualitative research, which is a good method for exploration of the few media (Berg & Lune, 2017). The study should reveal all the elements of the content to give conceptual values (Hantrais, 2009). The researcher will take care of external validity by including quantitative components. At the same time, the internal validity will be maximized through in-depth analysis of content. Quantitative approach alone is not deep enough to thoroughly demonstrate the desired statistical relationships.

The researcher will use the small-n qualitative method to study the rival cases for similarities and differences. The approach is appropriate for this study because it allows the researcher to control the overall quality of the findings (Marshall & Rossman, 2016). Also, it enables detailed analysis of the chosen cases (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). The researcher will begin the data collection process by picking several films produced in the two countries between the year 1970 and 2018. Structured selection will then be applied in choosing the specific titles to analyze. Structured selection limits the scope of factors that will be used to explain observations made on the data patterns.

Content analysis involves looking at latent themes and meanings behind ideologies (Dincer, 2018). The qualitative study is based on the assumption that through systematic inquiry, latent information such purpose, motives, and meanings of media content can be exposed. From the findings, the researcher will be able to explain the hidden meanings. The criteria for choosing the material for analysis are a very important consideration because it determines the accuracy of the research results. The reliability and validity of the analysis may be compromised by human error (Koenig, 2006). As such, it is important to be aware of personal limitations such as bias, fatigue and data interpretation challenges. These limitations can be avoided by organizing the work into stages for systematic analysis.

In conclusion, this research will compare the Mainland China films and Hong Kong films using qualitative research. it will use the small-n method to analyze data in three films from each of the two countries. The films to be analyzed will be selected from a collection of films produced in the two rival cases from 1970 to 2018. The results of the analysis will be used to infer hidden meanings in the data and explain relationships.


Aranburu, A. M. (2017). The Film Industry in China: Past and Present. Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business, 2(1), 1-28.

Berg, B. L., & Lune, H. (2017). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences.

Blundy, R. (2018, March 19). Hong Kong's young women still facing gender inequality as world marks United Nations? International Day of the Girl. Retrieved from

Cheng, J. (2004). An Annotated Bibliography of Chinese Film Studies: Protestant Burials in Macao (Vol. 1). Hong Kong University Press.

Cline, V. B. (1972, October). How Do Movies and TV Influence Behavior? - ensign. Retrieved from

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative & mixed methods approaches.

Dincer, S. (2018). Content Analysis in Scientific Research: Meta-Analysis, Meta-Synthesis, and Descriptive Content Analysis. Bartin Universitesi Egitim Fakultesi Dergisi, 176-190. doi:10.14686/buefad.363159

Ding, Y. (2009). Hong Kong's cultural identity reflected in Jackie Chan's films. University of Louisville.

Ge, C. (2018, March 19). Hong Kong's golden days of film gone as China moves into spotlight. Retrieved from

Hantrais, L. (2009). International comparative research: Theory, methods and practice. Basingstoke [u.a.: Palgrave Macmillan.

Koenig, T. P. (2006). Compounding mixed-methods problems in frame analysis through comparative research. Qualitative Research, 6(1), 61-76. doi:10.1177/1468794106058874

Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (2016). Designing qualitative research.

Nilsson, P. (2015). Chinese Government's Role in Commercialisation of the Film Industry.

Qiu, L., Lin, H., & Leung, A. K. (2012). Cultural Differences and Switching of In-Group Sharing Behavior Between an American (Facebook) and a Chinese (Renren) Social Networking Site. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(1), 106-121. doi:10.1177/0022022111434597

Something Is Changing in Hong Kong Cinema: 4+1 Filmmakers Who Prove It. (2017, September 18). Retrieved from

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