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Beyond Imperial AestheticsTheories of Art and Politics in East Asia$
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Mayumo Inoue and Steve Choe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455874

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455874.001.0001

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Corpo-reality in the Hong Kong New Wave

Corpo-reality in the Hong Kong New Wave

(p.125) 6 Corpo-reality in the Hong Kong New Wave
Beyond Imperial Aesthetics

Chang-Min Yu

Hong Kong University Press

Several decades after the inception of the Hong Kong New Wave, critics still struggle to respond to the charge that "[t]here was no new aesthetic landscape"; that this so-called New Wave was only an imitation of the French nouvelle vague with an emphasis on local political and social issues. However, because of the imaginary grid of the term "New Wave," critics have failed to take into account the intensely physical aspect of these films; blood, gore and severed limbs litter the new landscape. Elements of body horror are deployed to excite and disgust the audience, and to question the impossible formation of Hong Kong's identity by returning to its corporeal vessel. This new corpo-reality is a characteristic shared by the films of Ann Hui, Dennis Yu, Tsui Hark and other Hong Kong directors at that time. In other words, these directors not only turn to contemporary Hong Kong for inspiration, but they also reconfigure the limitations of body-image à la Deleuze to reflect upon individual dilemmas faced by a community surrounded by various imperial regimes, including China, Japan and the British colonial government. My essay contends that it is impossible to recognize the innovations of the Hong Kong New Wave without reexamining the corporeal manifestations on screen.

Keywords:   Deleuze, Dody, Film theory, nouvelle vague, Modernity, Cinema

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