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date: 25 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics edited by John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman, and Carol Vernallis. This chapter explores audiovisual intensification in post-1997 Hong Kong action films, focusing on the performance of everyday activities in Johnnie To’s 2004 Breaking News (Dai si gin, 2004) This film’s heightened depictions of materiality, temporality, and the ordinary provide a means to register multisensory experience in a changing urban society. Sound and music work alongside the narrative and the mise-en-scène, creating a contrapuntal weave of lines through the film. Without relying on dialogue, Breaking News reveals the weight and dimensionality of the human in ways specific to both digital cinema and Hong Kong experience. Everyday objects, and the quotidian activities associated with them, are granted a strong audiovisual presence; this helps create an intensified ordinary that deepens and supplements the film’s status as action cinema.

Keywords: Hong Kong action films, Johnnie To, Breaking News, the intensified ordinary, audiovisual objects, multisensory experience

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