Paul Fonoroff

Paul Fonoroff

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Paul began learning Mandarin while in high school, continuing his Chinese studies as an undergraduate at Brown University and Singapore's Nanyang University. After earning a Masters in Fine Arts in cinema at the University of Southern California, he obtained a grant to research Chinese cinema at Peking University from 1980-82. He moved to Hong Kong in 1983 and began writing for the South China Morning Post in 1988. A collection of his articles was published as At the Hong Kong Movies, 600 Reviews from 1988 till the Handover. In addition to writing, he hosted over one thousand movie-related TV shows in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, and had roles in twenty movies. He is a member...

Latest from Paul Fonoroff

Flashback: It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World (1987) – Lunar New Year blockbuster vividly captures the Hong Kong cinema aura

Comedy masterpiece a reminder of the Hong Kong psyche 10 years before city’s return to Chinese sovereignty and how materialism, greed and housing aspirations have long been its signature tunes

3 Feb 2018 - 9:01PM

Comedy masterpiece a reminder of the Hong Kong psyche 10 years before city’s return to Chinese sovereignty and how materialism, greed and housing aspirations have long been its signature tunes

Flashback: It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World (1987) – Lunar New Year blockbuster vividly captures the Hong Kong cinema aura
Flashback: The Love Eterne (1963) – Betty Loh Ti, Ivy Ling Po play star-crossed lovers in huangmei opera classic
Flashback: The Pregnant Maiden (1968) sees Connie Chan at her ‘movie-fan princess’ prime

The movie may be a piece of farcical fluff but Chan’s fans across Hong Kong and Southeast Asia were more interested in seeing their heroine in a variety of crowd-pleasing scenes

8 Jul 2017 - 10:40PM

The movie may be a piece of farcical fluff but Chan’s fans across Hong Kong and Southeast Asia were more interested in seeing their heroine in a variety of crowd-pleasing scenes

Flashback: The Pregnant Maiden (1968) sees Connie Chan at her ‘movie-fan princess’ prime
Flashback: It Was a Cold Winter Night (1955) – Ng Cho-fan, Pak Yin in Cantonese classic

The eternal triangle – two women, one man – gets a distinctly local twist here: the other woman isn’t a mistress but the man’s mother, fighting for dominance in a wartime Chongqing that’s beautifully evoked.

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

The eternal triangle – two women, one man – gets a distinctly local twist here: the other woman isn’t a mistress but the man’s mother, fighting for dominance in a wartime Chongqing that’s beautifully evoked.

Flashback: It Was a Cold Winter Night (1955) – Ng Cho-fan, Pak Yin in Cantonese classic
Flashback: China Behind – Cecile Tang’s Orwellian tale outlasts its suppressors

Completed in 1974 but not shown until the 1980s, Tang’s film about university students fleeing the Cultural Revolution for Hong Kong is perhaps even more awe-inspiring now than it was then

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

Completed in 1974 but not shown until the 1980s, Tang’s film about university students fleeing the Cultural Revolution for Hong Kong is perhaps even more awe-inspiring now than it was then

Flashback: China Behind – Cecile Tang’s Orwellian tale outlasts its suppressors
Chilling snapshot of a long-gone Hong Kong in The Imp, film that’s a new-wave horror classic

Dennis Yu’s groundbreaking work retains its doom-laden sparkle with well-paced vignettes, it’s on-location shooting in an as-yet empty United Centre and elsewhere adding freshness to the genre

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

Dennis Yu’s groundbreaking work retains its doom-laden sparkle with well-paced vignettes, it’s on-location shooting in an as-yet empty United Centre and elsewhere adding freshness to the genre

Chilling snapshot of a long-gone Hong Kong in The Imp, film that’s a new-wave horror classic
Flashback: Les Belles (1961) – Linda Lin Dai stars in acclaimed Hong Kong musical

Age hasn’t dimmed this joyous Shaw Brothers musical, with a wispy plot that serves merely as a vehicle for an abundance of choreographed numbers that run the gamut from Broadway tap to classical Chinese

20 Jul 2018 - 8:46PM

Age hasn’t dimmed this joyous Shaw Brothers musical, with a wispy plot that serves merely as a vehicle for an abundance of choreographed numbers that run the gamut from Broadway tap to classical Chinese

Flashback: Les Belles (1961) – Linda Lin Dai stars in acclaimed Hong Kong musical
Flashback: Lady Windermere’s Fan – Ernst Lubitsch’s 1925 adaptation of Oscar Wilde comedy

Deft direction made the 1925 silent film adaptation of the Oscar Wilde comedy a delight for the eyes, if not the ears

20 Jul 2018 - 8:46PM

Deft direction made the 1925 silent film adaptation of the Oscar Wilde comedy a delight for the eyes, if not the ears

Flashback: Lady Windermere’s Fan – Ernst Lubitsch’s 1925 adaptation of Oscar Wilde comedy
Film review: All’s Well, Ends Well - Lunar New Year screwball classic back in cinemas
Film appreciation: Follow Your Dream - a real find from 1941

This Hong Kong tragi-comedy, which had its premiere weeks before the Japanese invasion of the city, is a potent reminder of the city's enduring role as an oasis of free expression within China.

29 Jul 2015 - 11:17PM

This Hong Kong tragi-comedy, which had its premiere weeks before the Japanese invasion of the city, is a potent reminder of the city's enduring role as an oasis of free expression within China.

Film appreciation: Follow Your Dream  - a real find from 1941
Film appreciation: Allen Fong's subtle masterpiece Ah Ying is one for the ages

Ah Ying, the 1983 neo-realistic tale of friendship between an aspiring filmmaker and a budding actress, was one of the most understated and emotionally subtle products of  the waning years of Hong Kong's cinematic New Wave.

10 Jul 2015 - 10:12AM

Ah Ying, the 1983 neo-realistic tale of friendship between an aspiring filmmaker and a budding actress, was one of the most understated and emotionally subtle products of  the waning years of Hong Kong's cinematic New Wave.

Film appreciation: Allen Fong's subtle masterpiece Ah Ying is one for the ages
Film appreciation: Lawrence Lau's Queen of Temple Street (1990)
Film appreciation: Alfred Cheung's Her Fatal Ways

The 1990 film presciently, and entertainingly, highlighted the China-Hong Kong culture clash.

3 Jun 2015 - 11:37PM

The 1990 film presciently, and entertainingly, highlighted the China-Hong Kong culture clash.

Film appreciation: Alfred Cheung's Her Fatal Ways
Film appreciation: Chor Yuen's The Youth (1969) - campy verve, surreal script
Why Song of China is essential viewing for fans of Chinese cinema
The Rich House (1942) shows Hong Kong cinema's uniqueness

This film, a true blending of East and West, is one of just a half-dozen Hong Kong films from the early 1940s to have survived.

8 Apr 2015 - 5:01PM

This film, a true blending of East and West, is one of just a half-dozen Hong Kong films from the early 1940s to have survived.

The Rich House (1942) shows Hong Kong cinema's uniqueness
The Thin Man, early MGM feature, defines on-screen chemistry
Guys and Dolls is a classic Hollywood fusion of stage and screen
Film appreciation: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow - a Hong Kong original

The Sars epidemic of 2003 revived Hongkongers' interest in Patrick Lung Kong's 1970 take on French writer-philosopher Albert Camus' The Plague.

5 Feb 2015 - 12:01AM

The Sars epidemic of 2003 revived Hongkongers' interest in Patrick Lung Kong's 1970 take on French writer-philosopher Albert Camus' The Plague.

Film appreciation: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow - a Hong Kong original
Ming dynasty drama The Arch a classic of Hong Kong cinema
Film review: 1963's My Lucky Star marked the end of an era for Shaw Brothers
Art house: Paragon of Sword & Knife features prolific screen legend Connie Chan
Art house: Wooden Crosses is a little-known anti-war masterpiece
Art house: The Lotus Lamp's box office success mostly due to the death of star Lin Dai
Art house: the aerial battles of 1927's Wings are still impressive
Art house: Festival Moon highlights inequality in Hong Kong, past and present
Art House: Blood Will Tell features 1940s mainland star Bai Guang in a bad girl role
Art house: neo-realist icon Anna Magnani shines in Hollywood's The Rose Tattoo
Art House: Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring is the purest distillation of his style
Art House: Giant shows the Hollywood studio system at its best