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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the imaginary of the Chinese male body in Hong Kong kung fu cinema functions both as a site through which vengeance is sought against the Chinese experience of modernity as well as a figure of racial melancholia that expresses the failure to achieve such vengeance. Fredric Jameson’s notion of the political unconscious serves as a way to connect existing criticism on the Chinese experience of colonial modernity and the image of Chinese masculinity in kung fu cinema to the question of kung fu cinema’s relationship to Hong Kong’s contemporary historical condition. An analysis of Lo Wei’s Fist of Fury (1972), starring Bruce Lee, then offers the opportunity to explore a particular restaging of colonial modernity by kung fu cinema that invites a consideration of the kung fu film as a vehicle of “traumatic-melancholic cinematic affect.”

Keywords: kung fu, racial melancholia, masculinity, Chinese male body, colonial modernity, vengeance, trauma, affect, political unconscious

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