Spatial intimacies: negotiating place in four films by Wong Kar-wai

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis



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[Truncated abstract] This thesis explores the representation of intimate geographies in four films by Hong Kong auteur, Wong Kar-wai. Providing an in-depth examination of Chungking Express (1994), Happy Together (1997), 2046 (2004) and My Blueberry Nights (2007), I interrogate the manner in which Wong appropriates the themes of place and travel to portray complex articulations of emotion. In so doing, I consider Wong’s construction of a cinema of spatial intersection that resides on the threshold of memory and desire.
By situating Wong’s cinema within interstices, this thesis proposes an alternative reading of his oeuvre that shifts the focus of critical attention away from popular theorisations that frame Wong’s films in relation to the socio-historical context of contemporary Hong Kong. Specifically, I argue for a re-mapping that locates meaning within the intimate gestures of each film, as opposed to larger narratives – such as the Sino-British handover in 1997 – that exist beyond the cinematic frame. Accordingly, this thesis marks a significant scholarly shift from temporality to spatiality and from politics to aesthetics. Although these categories cannot be easily extricated, I prioritise a reading of Wong’s cinema through visual details that shed light on how space is produced and traversed cinematically.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2011

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