Cultural Memory, The Trope of "Humble Wage Earners," And Everyman Heroism in The Hui Brothers’ Comedies and Their Remake

Jessica Siu Yin Yeung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

I attend to the trope of Humble Wage Earners (daa gung zai 打工仔) in the Hui brothers’ comedies and their remake Fantasia (Gwai maa kong soeng kuk 鬼馬狂想曲, 2004) and argue that they preserve a cultural memory of Hong Kong during transitional periods. The trope and its everyman heroism are keys to decoding the social critique in the remake, which can be seen as an archive constructed through pastiche of canonical elements from the originals. The article first contextualizes the Hui brothers’ comedies in the postwar East Asian comedy film and media tradition (1950s–1970s) and considers them as Hong Kong salaryman comedies, which epitomize the trait of everyman heroism as a core element of Hongkonger’s identity. I demonstrate this point through a reading of Fantasia by focusing on how memory is represented and how the trope is remade. The close reading examines the film’s pastiche of the classic elements, influences, and anecdotes of the Hui brothers’ comedies, hence illustrating a remake’s capacity to archive cultural memory, rewrite cultural history, and reexamine identity in a new light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-446
Number of pages30
JournalArchiv Orientalni
Volume90
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • cultural memory
  • cultural history
  • pastiche
  • film remake
  • nostalgia cinema
  • Hong Kong Cantonese comedy film
  • humble wage earners
  • the Hui brothers’ comedies

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