Between Real and Unreal: Representability and Auteurship in Queer Hong Kong Cinema

  • Zoran Lee Pecic


The chapter looks at two auteurs of Hong Kong queer independent cinema. It argues that their works blur the lines between what is real and what is unreal, complicating the notions of representability in queer Hong Kong cinema. The chapter suggests that Scud’s 2010 film Amphetamine frustrates and alienates viewers, and by undermining the “gay film” genre, forces them to rethink their relationship with the film. The chapter also argues that Kit Hung’s Soundless Wind Chime (2009), whilst offering a similar method of subverting the gay film genre, employs slowness as a way of thwarting the viewer’s expectations. Finally, the chapter suggests that intertextuality in Soundless Wind Chime establishes Hung as a queer auteur whose work references and continues the Sinophone cinematic tradition.


Scud Kit Hung Amphetamine Soundless Wind Chime Tsai Ming-liang Li Xianglan The Hole (DongHong Kong independent cinema 


  1. Abbas, Ackbar. 1997. Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Berry, Chris. 2004. The Sacred, the Profane, and the Domestic in Cui Zi’en’s Cinema. Positions 12 (1): 195–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berry, Chris, and Mary Ann Farquhar. 2006. China on Screen: Cinema and Nation. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cagle, Robert L. 2007. Taking the Plunge: Representing Queer Desire in Contemporary South Korean Cinema. In Seoul Searching: Culture and Identity in Contemporary Korean Cinema, ed. Frances Gateward, 283–297. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  5. Chan, Kenneth. 2015. Yonfan. In Directory of World Cinema: China 2, ed. Gary Bettinson, 212–214. Bristol: Intellect.Google Scholar
  6. Chao, Linda, and Ramon H. Myers. 1998. The First Chinese Democracy: Political Life in the Republic of China on Taiwan. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Ching, Yau. 2008. Anti-Gay Speech: A Necessary Evil? Fridae, June 12. Accessed 10 March 2016.
  8. Eng, David, Judith Halberstam, and Jose Esteban Muños. 2005. What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now? Social Text 84–85, 23(3–4): 1–17.Google Scholar
  9. Flanagan, Matthew. 2008. Towards an Aesthetic of Slow in Contemporary Cinema. 16:9 6(29). Accessed 17 Nov 2017.
  10. Fonoroff, Paul. 2009. Soundless Wind Chime: Film Review. South China Morning Post, July 23. Accessed 15 Feb 2016.
  11. Gorbman, Claudia. 2007. Auteur Music. In Beyond the Soundtrack: Representing Music in Cinema, ed. Daniel Goldmark, Lawrence Kramer, and Richard Leppert. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Grossman, Andrew. 2000. Preface. In Cinema: Shadows in the Shade, ed. Queer Asian, 1–30. New York: Harrington Park Press.Google Scholar
  13. Jeong, Seung-hoon, and Jeremi Szaniawski. 2016. Introduction. In The Global Auteur: The Politics of Authorship in 21st Century Cinema, ed. Jeremi Szaniawski and Seung-hoon Jeong, 1–2. London & New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  14. Lee, Edmund. 2009. Kit Hung on Soundless Wind Chime. Time Out Hong Kong, July 20. Accessed 25 Feb 2016.
  15. Leung, Helen Hok-sze. 2001. Queerscapes in Contemporary Hong Kong Cinema. Positions 9 (2): 423–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leung, Helen Hok-sze. 2008. Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong. Toronto: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  17. Leung, Helen Hok-sze. 2012. Homosexuality and Queer Aesthetics. In A Companion to Chinese Cinema, ed. Yingzin Zhang, 518–534. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lim, Song Hwee. 2006. Celluloid Comrades: Representations of Male Homosexuality in Contemporary Chinese Cinemas. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lim, Song Hwee. 2014. Tsai Ming-liang and a Cinema of Slowness. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lu, Sheldon Hsiao-peng. 1997. Historical Introduction: Chinese Cinemas (1896–1996) and Transnational Film Studies. In Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender, ed. Sheldon Hsiao-peng Lu. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.Google Scholar
  21. Marsh, James. 2010. HKIFF 2010: Amphetamine Review. ScreenAnarchy, April 7. Accessed 7 March 2016.
  22. Maule, Rosanna. 2008. Beyond Auteurism: New Directions in Authorial Film Practices in France, Italy and Spain Since the 1980s. Bristol: Intellect.Google Scholar
  23. Mengsta. 2010. DVD Review: “Amphetamine.” Directed by Scud. City Weekend, December. Accessed 2 March 2016.
  24. Mennel, Barbara. 2012. Queer Cinema: Schoolgirls, Vampires and Gay Cowboys. London: Wallflower.Google Scholar
  25. Paquet, Darcy. 2009. New Korean Cinema: Breaking the Waves. London: Wallflower.Google Scholar
  26. Pecic, Zoran Lee. 2016. New Queer Sinophone Cinema: Local Histories, Transnational Connections. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rich, B. Ruby. 2013. New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rofel, Lisa. 2010. The Traffic in Money Boys. Positions: East Asia Cultures. Critique 18: 425–458.Google Scholar
  29. Sellors, C. Paul. 2010. Film Authorship: Auteurs and Other Myths. London: Wallflower.Google Scholar
  30. Stephenson, Shelley. 2002. A Star by Any Other Name: The (After)Lives of Li Xianglan. Quarterly Review of Film and Video 19: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wang, Yiman. 2005. Between the National and the Transnational: Li Xianglan/ Yamaguchi Yoshiko and Pan-Asianism. IIAS Newsletter 38: 7.Google Scholar
  32. Wang, Yiman. 2012. Affective Politics and the Legend of Yamaguchi Yoshiko/Li Xianglan. In Sino-Japanese Transculturation: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the End of the Pacific War, ed. Richard King, Cody Poulton, and Katsuhiko Endo. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  33. White, Patricia. 2015. Women’s Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yeh, Emilie Yueh-yu, and Darrel Williams Davis. 2005. Taiwan Film Directors: A Treasure Island. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Yue, Audrey. 2012. Mobile Intimacies in the Queer Sinophone Films of Cui Zi’en. Journal of Chinese Cinemas 6 (1): 95–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. A Frozen Flower [Ssanghwajeom]. Directed by Yoo Ha, South Korea: Universal Pictures, Opus Pictures. 2008.Google Scholar
  2. Air Hostess [Kongzhong xiaojie]. Directed by Evan Yang, Hong Kong: MP&GI. 1959.Google Scholar
  3. Amphetamine [An fei ta ming]. Directed by Scud, Hong Kong: Artwalker. 2010.Google Scholar
  4. Ascetic: Woman and Woman [Geumyok: yeojawa yeoja]. Directed by Scud Kim Suhyeong, South Korea. 1976.Google Scholar
  5. Broken Branches [Naeillo heureuneun gang]. Directed by Park Jae-ho, South Korea: Samwoo Media. 1995.Google Scholar
  6. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [Wohu canglong]. Directed by Ang Lee, Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, China: Asia Union Film & Entertainment Ltd., China Film Co‐Production Corporation, Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, EDKO Film, Good Machine, Sony Pictures Classics, United China Vision, Zoom Hunt International Productions Company Ltd. 2000.Google Scholar
  7. Father Is a Dog [Abeojineun Gaeda]. Directed by Lee Sang-woo, South Korea. 2012.Google Scholar
  8. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Directed by Howard Hawkes, USA: 20th Century Fox. 1953.Google Scholar
  9. Goodbye, Dragon Inn [Busan]. Directed by Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan: Homegreen Films. 2003.Google Scholar
  10. King and the Clown [Wang-ui namja]. Directed by Lee Joon-ik, South Korea: Eagle Pictures. 2005.Google Scholar
  11. Mambo Girl [Manbo nülang]. Directed by Evan Yang, Hong Kong: MP&GI. 1957.Google Scholar
  12. Mother Is a Whore [Eommaneun changnyeoda]. Directed by Lee Sang-woo, South Korea: Dream West Pictures. 2011.Google Scholar
  13. No Regret [Huhoehaji Anha]. Directed by Leesong Hee-il, South Korea: Generation Blue Films. 2006.Google Scholar
  14. Permanent Residence [Yongjiu juliu]. Directed by Scud, Hong Kong: Artwalker, 2009.Google Scholar
  15. Soundless Wind Chime [Wusheng fen ling]. Directed by Kit Hung, Hong Kong, Switzerland: Keep In Touch, Das Kollektiv für audiovisuelle Werke GmbH. 2009.Google Scholar
  16. Stateless Things [Jultak dongshi]. Directed by Kim Kyung-mook, South Korea: Alive Pictures, Kyung Pictures, KOFIC. 2011.Google Scholar
  17. The Handmaiden [Agassi]. Directed by Park Chan-wook, South Korea: Moho Film, Yong Film. 2016.Google Scholar
  18. The Hole [Dong]. Directed by Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan, France: Arc Light Films, China Television, Central Motion Picture Corporation, Haut et Court, La Sept-Arte. 1998.Google Scholar
  19. The River [Heliu]. Directed by Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan: Central Motion Picture Corporation. 1997.Google Scholar
  20. The Wild, Wild Rose [Ye mei gui zhi lian]. Directed by Tian-Lin Wang, Hong Kong: MP&GI. 1960.Google Scholar
  21. Yang ± Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema [Nansheng nüxiang: Zhongguo dianying zhi xingbie]. Directed by Stanley Kwan, Hong Kong, UK: BFI, 1996.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoran Lee Pecic
    • 1
  1. 1.Roskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark

Personalised recommendations