Wong Kar-wai's controversial film, Happy Together, was
released in Hong Kong just before the handover of power in 1997.
The film shows two Chinese gay men in Buenos Aires and reflects on
Hong Kong's past and future by probing masculinity, aggression,
identity, and homosexuality. It also gives a reading of Latin
America, perhaps as an allegory of Hong Kong as another
Examining one single, memorable, and beautiful film, but placing it
in the context of other films by Wong Kar-wai and other Hong Kong
directors, this book illustrates the depth, as well as the
spectacle and action, that characterizes Hong Kong cinema. Tambling
investigates the possibility of seeing Happy Together in
terms of 'national allegory', as Fredric Jameson suggests Third
World texts should be seen. Alternatively, he emphasizes the
fragmentary nature of the film by discussing both its images and
its narrative in the light of Borges and Manuel Puig. He also looks
at the film's relation to the American road movie and to the
history of the tango. He poses questions how emotions are presented
in the film (is this a 'nostalgia film'?); whether the masculinity
in it should be seen negatively or as signs of a new hopefulness
about Hong Kong's future; and whether the film indicates new ways
of thinking of gender relationships or sexuality.
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