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Hong Kong, 1997; Mexico, 1917. Motifs and Historical Perspective

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Hong Kong film treatment of the 1997 handover varies in its overtness. Many examples of implicit, even unwitting, reference to the momentous event indicate a pervasive unease about the direction to be taken by mainland China's rulers after the merger.

One of the most pervasive motifs in Hong Kong cinema is that of betrayal. The near-ubiquity of this element is perhaps not surprising; it is frequently linked to the end of familial or social relationships and communicates a persistent malaise about the durability of such relationships and loyalties. Examples of the motif appear in films including the three A Better Tomorrow movies, the two Project A films, Full Contact, Undeclared War, Widow Warriors, and Hard-Boiled, to cite only a few (not all of which will be dealt with today!).

Keywords: 1917; 1997; Hong Kong film; Mexican revolution; betrayal; historical perspective

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 1998

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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