Hong Kong Cinema.
Identity has been a constant topic of discussion in contemporary Hong Kong Cinema. Discuss how Infernal Affairs addresses the issue of identity in its Postmodern settings. Pay attention to the difficult identities of the two main characters and how they negotiate and struggle with their identities. Explain how their complicated relationship to their identities comment upon the post modern situation of Hong Kong in transition at the turn of the century.
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Infernal Affairs presents a story of men with conflicting identities. Notably, two men are featured in the film with one being a police (Tony Leung) while the other a triad (Andy Lau) who work as undercover agents embedded towards the opposing sides. Each has a duty to establish the identity of the other before one’s identity is exposed. It is evident that Tony Leung struggles with his identity as reflected by his desire to regain his true identity and Lau struggling to be a real cop (Wing-Sang, 2006). It is evident that the identity crisis reflected by the two is not only as a result of the split personalities between what is evil and what is good, but also due to the existing political tensions stemming from the colonizers and the colonized.
The complicated relationships to the identity of the two characters are a representation of the postmodern situation in Hong Kong during the transition period. For instance, the conflicting identities clearly reflect the identity of the Chinese people available in Hong Kong before the Opium war erupted. This is a Sino-British drug war that generated the harbor cession. It is evident that in Hong Kong, the colony has undergone a transition from a fishing village to an industrious one, also reflecting an identity change (Wing-Sang, 2006). In this case, a shift is noted within its identity vacuum symbolizing its pre-colonial past to the one reflected by the identity disorder associated with the post-colonial present. Despite this, it is evident that Hong Kong’s colonial identity still remains unfixed despite the transition as reflected in the case of Andy Lau’s identity and role in the film (Wing-Sang, 2006).
Wing-Sang, L. (2006). The violence of time and memory undercover: Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 7, (3), 384-401