Anna Karenina, Snow White and Other Book Characters on the Big Screen

Why We Recommend it

Organised by the Hong Kong Film Archive, this programme screens eight pairs of classic films— produced in Hollywood, Hong Kong and China—adapted from international literary works.


Between the 1940s and 60s, both Cantonese and Mandarin cinemas in Hong Kong adapted many foreign literary works. In order to fit the times as well as the region’s culture and ethic codes, those stories had to be localised for the Hong Kong audience. Filmmakers also took the liberty to transform stories into works of completely different genres and themes. Some literary works took a longer road to the silver screen, first appearing as Western films or Cantonese operas on the theatre stages of Guangdong and Hong Kong before being adapted into local movies.

Every month from February to September, Worth a Thousand Words: Adaptations of Foreign Literary Classics, will screen one movie produced between the 1910s to the 1960s. These monthly screenings will be accompanied by a seminar exploring how different filmmakers approached the same classic, as well as the crossover from literature to film.

Programme highlights include a Cantonese version of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White, a silent 1916 film that features fun local touches: the iconic poisoned apple, for example, is replaced by a Chinese BBQ pork bun; The Spoiled Princess (1948), a more feminist retelling of Shakespeare’s famous comedy The Taming of the Shrew; and Anna Karenina (1935) starring Hollywood legend Greta Garbo.


When: 10 Feb 2019 - 8 Sep 2019 Where: Hong Kong Film Archive – 50 Lei King Road, Sai Wan Ho – Eastern District