By Audrey Yue
This booklet examines "Song of the Exile" as diasporic cinema. As textual content, its practices of diasporic intimacy problem the exilic myths of domestic and go back. As style, its use of postcolonial feminist autobiography articulates another Hong Kong background. As pedagogy, its border practices allow the educating of transcultural literacy.
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Additional resources for Ann Hui's Song of the Exile
It segues to another ferry, in a similar frame to the one before, taking a teenage Hueyin to Hong Kong. Soon after, Hueyin and Aiko stand at the docks to farewell Huewei as she and her husband leave for Canada. Japanese rice fields and rural farms are introduced with a long spectatorial shot from the window of a moving train. Hueyin and Aiko arrive in Beppu on a bus. Hueyin explores the Beppu countryside on a borrowed bicycle. Ah Reng proposes to Aiko at the harbour. Mother and daughter reconciles by the sea overlooking a container ship, a space Hamid Naficy calls the ‘cathartic border’ (2001: 234).
As transition marks the end of colonial rule to another, Hong Kong’s presents ‘a position situated between imminent decolonization (pre-1997) and “re-nationalization”’ (Erni 2001: 390). It is a ‘paradoxical’ condition where ‘discontinuity and continuity are intertwined, where there is a co-existence of opposites without sublation’ (Choi 2007: 395). Ten years after the handover, Hong Kong exists as a postcolony of ‘entanglement’ where ‘inclusion and exclusion by the sovereign become indistinguishable’ (Choi 2007: 406).
This absence of communication highlights the hostility and lack of respect between the two groups, and shows the postcolonial contestation of different nationalisms. Both are ethno-centric and collude in practices of othering. 3 The film’s representation of Japan reflects the history of Japanese colonization in Hong Kong, and the period of film production in the early 1990s. Unlike Japan’s benevolent relationship to Taiwan (most seminally explored in Hou Hsiaohsien’s The Puppetmaster ), Hong Kong’s New Wave cinema, for example, Hui’s Love in a Fallen City, portrays the history of Japanese colonization through bloodshed and war.
Ann Hui's Song of the Exile by Audrey Yue