“I Didn’t Think We’d Be Like Them”; or, Wong Kar Wai, Hongkonger

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Polley views Hong Kong from many angles: population demographics, critical theory, vernacular criticism, the media, and autobiography. These intersect in the work of Wong Kar Wai. His 1960s’ trilogy—Days of Being Wild (1990), In the Mood for Love (2000), and 2046 (2004)—provides a discursive entry to a discussion of what the fractious identity marker “Hongkonger” speaks to 20 years after the 1997 handover to China. Wong’s films prize nostalgia, discontinuity, ambiguity, and deferral. Polley adopts a similar destabilizing approach. He makes a virtue of fragments, margins, and counter-narratives. Wong’s Hong Kong is not the global one of fast finance and free-markets. Polley’s Hong Kong, when reviewed through Wong’s lens, is assembled through competing paratexts, narrative layers that complement and contradict one another.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Conflict in Hong Kong
Subtitle of host publicationAngles on a Coherent Imaginary
EditorsJason S. Polley, Vinton W. K. Poon, Lian-Hee Wee
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789811077661
ISBN (Print)9789811077654, 9789811339967
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hong Kong identity politics
  • Media analysis
  • Poststructuralism
  • Vernacular criticism
  • Wong Kar Wai


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