Film Noir, Crisis and Politics of Identity
This chapter clarifies that an over-generalization of these films as Hong Kong neo-noirs is problematic. It points out certain misunderstandings about the categorization by providing a diachronic study of how the local cinema adopts or appropriates the noirish elements, styles and/or forms at different periods. Tracing the genealogy of Hong Kong noirish cinema, this chapter unfolds a long history of cinematic genre amalgamation that mixes the characteristics of Chinese hard-boiled fiction, Chinese martial arts novels, Chinese martial arts films, Hong Kong thrillers, Hong Kong melodramas and American film noir. In this chapter, I suggest that scholars and critics should review their conventional methodology which puts more emphasis on studying the similarities between noirish productions. Under such a convention, the differences, yet important, would not be categorized.