Incubation Programme 23/24: Public Talk ① Literary Adaptation
孵化計劃23/24:公開講座 ① 文學改編

Transcending Text: The Past and The Future of Film Adaptation

Date: 20 September 2023 (Wed)
Time: 20:00 – 21:30
Venue: H6 CONET (Large Multi-Function Room ACD)
Joyce Yang (Film Critic, Member of Hong Kong Film Critics Society)
Hong Heng Fai (Director, Kissing the Ground You Walked On)
Dr. Li Mei Ting (Lecturer, Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, CUHK)

The 3rd edition of the Eye Catcher Incubation Programme 23/24 has added the new category of Literary adaptation, 3 guests with various backgrounds in research & teaching, directing, and film criticism, were invited to discuss the past and the future of film adaptation in Hong Kong. What do we mean by a literary adaptation? How broad can the scope be? How to balance the literature with the director’s style and theme of the film? Why is the adaptation trend in Hong Kong not as prevalent as in foreign markets? These discussions on various issues in the context of adapted films are believed to be endlessly fascinating.

Dr. Li Mei Ting quoted Prof. Leo Lee Ou-fan’s argument, suggesting that the process of visualizing text essentially entices creators to make changes. Film language is relatively realistic, and for many audiences, film is a kind of entertainment. Therefore, whether it is an adaptation with intellectual property (IP), such as popular works like One Piece and Harry Potter, or it is an adaptation from independent filmmaking, the dialogue and visuals cannot be too detached from our reality. This kind of cultural production can be seen as a form of art in interpreting and reading, as well as an understanding of the world and contemporaneity.

Director Hong Hing Fai used his work Kissing the Ground You Walked On as an example to share with us his view on literary adaptation. the way of narration in Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull made Kissing the Ground You Walked On a special case in film and adaptation: it’s a theatre script that provides space and layers for theatre actors to perform. After reading many of Chekhov’s scripts, the vibe and atmosphere of The Seagull inspired the director, leading to an overlap between the protagonist in Kissing the Ground You Walked On with the character Nina in The Seagull, as well as the 2 different ways in expressing the dialogues from The Seagull, have created what now as Kissing the Ground You Walked On that we watch on screen.

In conclusion, our moderator Joyce Yang mentioned the metaphor director HONG talked about at the beginning of the talk, where the spirit of adaptation, is the ability to find the “crucial point.” Through continuous observations from different angles, whether it is to select or to condense, the core spirit of the text, just like the life, the soul, or the bones and blood of a cow, needs to be hit at once to better transform the distant feeling of the text into another form of visualised art.


時間:20:00 – 21:30
地點:H6 CONET-大型多用途活動室(Room ACD)


引用李歐梵教授的論點,李薇婷博士表示文本影像化的過程,基本上文字就如同在引誘創作者去改變一樣。電影是一種相對寫實的語言,甚至對不少觀眾而言是一種娛樂,因此不論是具有IP(Intellectual Property)性,如《海賊王》及《哈利波特》這類流行作品;抑或是較為獨立製作的改編作品,當中的對白、畫面都不能夠與現實很抽離。這種文化生產,可謂是一種閱讀的藝術,一種對於世界和現時性的理解。



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