The violence of time and memory undercover : Hong Kong’s infernal affairs

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1997 as a global media spectacle about Hong Kong’s handover of its sovereignty from Britain to China is now almost forgotten; yet Hong Kong is still caught between the politics of time and memory too complex to be captured under simple post‐colonialist notion such as ‘hybridity’. This paper tries to put in perspective a (post‐)colonial cultural politics of counter‐memory in Hong Kong cinema by investigating its decades‐long investment in a sub‐genre built around the motif of undercover‐cop. Specifically, the example of the blockbuster Infernal Affairs series is analyzed in details, with particular attention to its innovative plot, to show how the ‘structure of feeling’ about Hong Kong’s political fate is embedded in the films underpinning their local box‐office success. The allegorical reading of the film series attempted in this paper also connects the discussion about the ‘political unconscious’ of Hong Kong, now and in the past, with the wider problem of how the future political subjectivity of Hong Kong will take shape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-402
Number of pages20
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2006

Fingerprint

Hong Kong
violence
politics
cinema
sovereignty
subjectivity
China
time

Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Memory
  • allegory
  • gangster films
  • structure of feeling
  • time
  • undercover

Cite this

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title = "The violence of time and memory undercover : Hong Kong’s infernal affairs",
abstract = "1997 as a global media spectacle about Hong Kong’s handover of its sovereignty from Britain to China is now almost forgotten; yet Hong Kong is still caught between the politics of time and memory too complex to be captured under simple post‐colonialist notion such as ‘hybridity’. This paper tries to put in perspective a (post‐)colonial cultural politics of counter‐memory in Hong Kong cinema by investigating its decades‐long investment in a sub‐genre built around the motif of undercover‐cop. Specifically, the example of the blockbuster Infernal Affairs series is analyzed in details, with particular attention to its innovative plot, to show how the ‘structure of feeling’ about Hong Kong’s political fate is embedded in the films underpinning their local box‐office success. The allegorical reading of the film series attempted in this paper also connects the discussion about the ‘political unconscious’ of Hong Kong, now and in the past, with the wider problem of how the future political subjectivity of Hong Kong will take shape.",
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The violence of time and memory undercover : Hong Kong’s infernal affairs. / LAW, Wing Sang.

In: Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3, 01.09.2006, p. 383-402.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

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