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The Sensuous Cinema of Wong Kar-waiFilm Poetics and the Aesthetic of Disturbance$
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Gary Bettinson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9789888139293

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888139293.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Frustrating Formulas

Frustrating Formulas

Popular Genre and In the Mood for Love

(p.99) 5 Frustrating Formulas
The Sensuous Cinema of Wong Kar-wai

Gary Bettinson

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter sets out to clarify Wong Kar-wai’s reliance on popular genre, qualifying the critical perspective that Wong is an “anti-genre” filmmaker. Rather, genre is seen here to facilitate three interlinked objectives for Wong: it functions to commercial advantage, attracting financiers and audiences; it animates major authorial preoccupations; and it permits Wong’s cinephilia full play. The chapter goes on to offer a large-scale analysis of In the Mood for Love and the ways in which it negotiates the conventions of traditional melodrama. This analysis isolates the prime thematic concerns that inform so many of Wong’s characters and stories, manifest within In the Mood for Love through a narrative emphasis on fate, personal responsibility, authenticity, chance, and coincidence.

Keywords:   Cinephilia, Melodrama, the policier, road movies, science fiction, romantic comedy, swordplay film, affect, Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism

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