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Mirroring-Drifting – Lam Lin-tung and film aesthetics

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The social, political and cultural complexity of post-war Hong Kong (1945–1997) produced a highly fragmented, unsystematic, and historically transient mode of critical debate on the cinema. One film scholar, however, Lam Nin-tung ( Lin Niangtong, 1944–1990), tried to systematize the debate and proposed a thoughtprovoking idea: jing you [geng jau ] or mirroring-drifting. In this article, I argue that Lam’s theory is best understood as an attempt to re-examine the relationship between the subject and the object in cinematic perception, a project motivated by a subjectival crisis embedded within the social, cultural and political complexity of the historical period.
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Keywords: Chinese aesthetics; Chinese film theory; Hong Kong film theory; Lam Nin-tung (Lin Nian-tong); jing you/geng jau; post-war Hong Kong cinema

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: King’s College London

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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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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