Given the long-existing and multifaceted negotiations of the “China factor” in Hong Kong film history, this article centers on the political function of genre films by exploring how contemporary Hong Kong filmmakers utilize filmmaking as a flexible strategy to re-negotiate and reflect on the China factor concerning current post-Handover political dynamics. By focusing on several recent Hong Kong genre films as case studies, it examines how the China factor is negotiated in Vulgaria (Disu xiju) (2012) and The Midnight After (Naye lingchen wo zuoshang le wangjiao kaiwang dapu de hong van) (2014), considering the politics of languages alongside the imaginary of the disappearance of Hong Kong’s local cultures in the post-Handover era. It also highlights two post-Umbrella- Revolution films, Trivisa (Shuda zhaofeng) (2016) and The Mobfathers (Xuan lao ding) (2016), to explore how the China factor is negotiated in light of the collective anxieties of Hong Kongers regarding the Handover and controversies in the current electoral system of Hong Kong. By doing so, this article argues that the re-negotiations of the China factor in contemporary Hong Kong genre cinema have become more and more politically reflexive given the increasingly severe political interference of the Beijing sovereignty that has violated the autonomy of Hong Kong, while forming a discourse of resistance of Hong Kongers against possible neo- colonialism from the Chinese authorities in the postcolonial city. Crucially, in contemporary Hong Kong genre cinema, filmmaking functions not only as filmmakers’ flexible strategy to convey political messages, but also as an ongoing process of cultural production and negotiation between the film and the shifting socio-political context.
Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 46(1), p.11-37