William Hong-xiao Wei

Thesis title: Contemporary Poetic Cinema through the Lens of Traditional Chinese Poetics


I earned my Doctorate and a Master’s degree with Distinction in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh, where I have also taught cinema. My research interests are multifaceted, encompassing arthouse cinema, experimental cinema, queer cinema, film-philosophy, film aesthetics, and intermediality.

My doctoral thesis examines contemporary poetic cinema on a global scale. This inquiry is framed through the prisms of traditional Chinese poetics. I have conducted detailed textual analysis of the works by Theo Angelopoulos, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Terrence Malick, Alexander Sokurov, and Wong Kar-wai. My analysis explores the aesthetics of their feature films, documentaries, and essay films, taking into account various aspects such as intermediality, historical narratives, religious connotations, romantic sensuality, and cosmological perspectives. My thesis’s theoretical framework facilitates comparative discussions between Chinese philosophical and aesthetic traditions and theories within the Euro-American canon. My research not only addresses the affective turn in Film Studies by drawing upon traditional Chinese perspectives on emotions and feelings, but also integrates the insights of film phenomenologists to explore the significance of objects, moods, sensations, and atmospheres in cinematic expressions and experiences.

Beyond the realm of academia, I am an active practitioner in avant-garde filmmaking. My debut short film, Green Thoughts (2020), premiered at FIDMarseille in the competitive programmes of Compétition Premier Film and Compétition Flash. My second short film Embers from Yesterday, Aflame.(2022), distributed by Collectif Jeune Cinéma, premiered at the Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux de Paris. My films have been showcased at renowned film festivals in Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Hawick, İstanbul, London, Marseille, Montréal, Moscow, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Thessaloniki, Toronto, and many others, furthering my exploration of the intersection between film theory and film practice.


PhD - Film Studies - The University of Edinburgh

MSc (Distinction) - Film Studies - The University of Edinburgh

BEng (Hons) - Chemical Engineering and Technology - Southeast University

Responsibilities & affiliations


  • Le Collectif Jeune Cinéma

Undergraduate teaching

Introduction to European Cinema — Course Tutor

Research summary

  • Arthouse cinema
  • Slow cinema
  • Queer cinema
  • Artists’ moving image
  • Experimental cinema (essay film, found footage, Surrealism, photochemical processes)
  • European cinema
  • Asian cinema
  • Film aesthetics
  • Film phenomenology
  • Film-philosophy (both continental and non-Western philosophies)
  • Film and the other arts (particularly poetry, painting and photography)

Conference details

The Aesthetics of Dao in Terrence Malick’s Cosmic Cinema of the 2010s.” 2023 Film-Philosophy Conference, Chapman University, 15 June 2023.

“Candlelight, Shadows and Mist: Human Suffering and Meditations on the Physical World’s Illusions and Impermanency in Oriental Elegy.” 2022 International Conference on Religion and Film, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 10 June 2022.

“The Poetics of Affections and Intricate Patterns: Passion, Sensuality and Haptics in Wong Kang-wai’s The Hand (2004).” Chinese Film Aesthetics Conference, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, 6 May 2022.

“The Aesthetics of Landscape in Alexander Sokurov’s Cinema and Traditional Chinese Painting.” Chinese Audio-Visual Cultures: The Interaction between China and the Rest of the World Symposium, The Centre for International Film Research/The Film department at the University of Southampton, 7 May 2021.

Embers from Yesterday, Aflame. (2022)

Experimental  ·  10:40  ·   2.35:1  ·   Colour and Black & White  

35mm & 8mm  ·  Stereo  ·  no dialogue  ·   4K DCP

Green Thoughts (2020)

Fiction  ·  27:53/19:55/4:50  ·   1.89:1  ·   Colour and Black & White  

Cellular Phone & 35mm  ·  Stereo  ·  English & French & Chinese  ·   4K DCP