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Melancholy DriftMarking Time in Chinese Cinema$
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Jean Ma

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028054

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028054.001.0001

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Chance Encounters and Compulsive Returns

Chance Encounters and Compulsive Returns

(p.123) 5 Chance Encounters and Compulsive Returns
Melancholy Drift

Jean Ma

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines the films of Wong Kar-wai. The echoes and refrains that arise across the sets of films—Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, on the one hand, and In the Mood for Love and 2046, on the other hand—elicit a reflexive awareness of their narrative intricacies and of their coexistence within an authorial corpus. Rather than a series of events stitched into a self-contained causal chain, these films consist of fractured diegetic strands that connect at a meta-narrative level to produce an intertextual web of meaning from film to film. The unhinging of time in Wong's films, many critics have noted, conveys the historic mood of Hong Kong at the turn of the century, with the 1997 handover signaling a moment of extreme uncertainty, a rupture between past and future, and a crisis in identity.

Keywords:   Wong Kar-wai, Chungking Express, Hong Kong, Fallen Angels, 2046

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