Righteousness, Brotherhood, Justice: Feeling and Affect in 1980s Hong Kong Crime Films
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AbstractIn this paper, I propose to bring together criminology, film studies and Hong Kong studies to consider notions of crime, law and justice in Hong Kong films of the 1980s, the period when these films started to reach a global audience. More specifically, I am interested in bringing theorizations developed in genre studies since the 1990s into productive collision with more recent theories of affect and emotion in film, in particular Alison Young’s concept of criminological aesthetics (2010). What do we make of the repetition of a fairly limited range of plots (often revolving around brotherhood and betrayal), themes (nostalgia; loyalty in a corrupt capitalist world), and characters (righteous gangsters; vigilante cops) in 1980s crime films? How should we understand the unusual intensity of the affect and the excessive emotions in many of these films? And is all of this related in some way to the fraught sociopolitical situation pre-Handover Hong Kong found itself in during these years, as critics have often claimed? This paper will attempt to show how these violent “male crime melodramas” function at both a social and an intensely affective/emotional level, powerfully enacting for their spectators not only the moral tensions and contradictions resulting from rapid urbanization and industrialization, but also the particular condition of life in a colonial society with a strong reputation for rule of law and freedom of speech set to be handed over to an authoritarian one-party state.
All Author(s) ListVan den Troost Kristof
Name of ConferenceSociety for Hong Kong Studies Annual Conference
Start Date of Conference22/06/2019
End Date of Conference22/06/2019
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2020-21-05 at 14:21