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

  • Jason S. Polley


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.


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


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason S. Polley
    • 1
  1. 1.Hong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongHong Kong

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