Hong Kong cinema 1982-2002 : the quest for identity during transition
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This thesis seeks to interpret the cinematic representations of Hong Kongers’ identity quest during a transitional state/stage related to the sovereignty transfer. The Handover transition considered is an ideological one, rather than the overnight polity change on the Handover day. This research approaches contemporary Hong Kong cinema on two fronts and the thesis is structured accordingly: Upon an initial review of the existing Hong Kong film scholarship in the Introduction, and its 1997-related allegorical readings, Part I sees new angles (previously undeveloped or underdeveloped) for researching Hong Kong films made during 1982-2002. Arguments are built along the ideas of Hong Kongers’ situational, diasporic consciousness, and transformed ‘Chineseness’ because Hong Kong has lacked a cultural/national centrality. This part of research is informed by the ideas of Jacques Derrida, Homi Bhabha and Stuart Hall, and the diasporic experiences of Ien Ang, Rey Chow and Ackbar Abbas. With these new research angles and references to the circumstances, Part II reads critically the text of eight Hong Kong films made during the Handover transition. In chronological order, they are Boat People (Hui, 1982), Song of the Exile (Hui, 1990), Days of Being Wild (Wong, 1990), Happy Together (Wong, 1997), Made in Hong Kong (Chan, 1997), Ordinary Heroes (Hui, 1999), Durian Durian (Chan, 2000), and Hollywood Hong Kong (Chan, 2002). They meet several criteria related to the undeveloped / underdeveloped areas in the existing Hong Kong film scholarship. Hamid Naficy’s ‘accented cinema’ paradigm gives the guidelines to the film analysis in Part II. This part shows that Hong Kongers’ self-transformation during transition is alterable, indeterminate, and interminable, due to the people’s situational, diasporic consciousness, and transformed ‘Chineseness’. This thesis thus contributes to Hong Kong cinema scholarship in interpreting films with new research angles, and generating new insights into this cinematic tradition and its wider context.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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