On Spectral Mutations: The Ghostly City in The Secret, Rouge and Little Cheung


This chapter explores how various moments of disjointed time in Hong Kong history are associated with the expression of a sense of ghostliness, alienation and homelessness. It discusses the possibility of writing a meta-history of Hong Kong over the past thirty years or so through a hermeneutical reading of the cinematic depictions of space. It focuses on how an allegorical reading of the ordinary, quotidian aspects of urban life offers chances to understand the effects of eventful changes. The trivial and the mundane leads the chapter to deduce the profound aspects of Hong Kong’s transformations during these kairotic moments. The three films discussed in this chapter are Ann Hui’s The Secret, Stanley Kwan’s Rouge, and Fruit Chan’s Little Cheung.

Written by Esther M.K. Cheung
Published in Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image, ed. Kam Louie, 2010, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 169-191.