If the latest box-office movies aren’t quite satiating you, perhaps award-winning indies, documentaries, old classics, and foreign films are where your interests lie. Read on to find out where to catch them in Hong Kong.
Rich in cinematic heritage, Hong Kong lays claim to plenty of theatres showing the latest Hollywood releases and its own big productions. But, most cinemas are replicas of each other: sitting inside fancy malls, showcasing the same blockbusters – and a stark contrast to the city’s tradition of grand old picture houses, most of which have been now torn down. Finding out where to watch off-the-radar flicks and restored classics in Hong Kong is difficult, but not impossible. Here’s a list of the six best arthouse cinemas still standing today.
This movie theatre opened its doors in 1996 to gratify movie buffs and cinephiles with local and foreign independent features. Even with the occasional blockbusters now thrown in the mix, it’s still recognised as a major hub for indie films. The cinema, which sports four screens and 476 seats, has also played host to various festivals such as the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival. On top of that, their dazzling ballet shows are a must-see. And, once you’ve finished your movie, its cafe and bookstore Kubrick next door serves up a multilingual selection of literature, poetry, and comic books related to film.
Address: 3 Public Square St, Yau Ma Tei
The newest addition to what’s left of the arthouse theatres in Hong Kong, MOViE MOViE is the one-year-old sister of The Broadway Cinematheque. Following in its predecessor’s footsteps, MOViE MOViE lures viewers in with mainstream movies, hoping they’ll also take on a Taiwanese indie, like the 2000 award-winning family film Yi Yi – A One and a Two, or a music documentary instead. With seven houses, you’re sure to find a strong line-up of international, independent and old classics to cater to everyone’s interests.
Address: 5/F Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Hong Kong
A mecca for discerning filmgoers, Grand Ocean, operated by Golden Harvest Cinemas, is an old school theatre in Hong Kong. Although small, with only one screen, it presents both mainstream and lesser-known pictures from Hong Kong and overseas, like Indian comedy Padman. Anime aficionados can also enjoy a slew of newly released Japanese animations with Chinese subtitles here.
Address: 3 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
Formerly known as the Hong Kong Arts Centre, this movie spot has attracted its fair share of film lovers by showing alternatives to the latest hits. Making great use of its in-house cinema, viewers can see a robust selection of film classics, shorts, documentaries, foreign films, and indies. Keep an eye out for when they take the moving image to local communities with their indoor and outdoor screening activities.
Address: 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Established in 1993, the government-owned Hong Kong Film Archive is dedicated to preserving the city’s glamorous cinematic treasures ranging from books to audio-visual materials. With five floors housing a collection of thousands of films from Cantonese wuxia to action comedies such as Jackie Chan’s 1988 Dragons Forever, and traditional Cantonese dramas, screenings are often held in the complex’s 125-seat theatre. Admission to the programmes is available at a small fee of HKD 30 or 60, but entry to the complex is free.
Address: 50 Lei King Road, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong Island
Whilst AMC Pacific Place is more known for the big hits, it’s also another prime destination for non-mainstream films, as it’s often a venue for special showings and film festivals like the European Union Film Festival 2019. Frequent moviegoers can catch a broad selection of Cantonese and international films as well as previews and live broadcasts of plays from the National Theatre, such as the tragic love story of Antony & Cleopatra. All six houses in the complex, which underwent a makeover in late 2018, have a small square layout so there are no bad seats. Take advantage of the HKD 85 morning slots and HKD 100 Tuesday tickets.
Address: Level 1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway Road, Hong Kong Island