City on Fire

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Sep 19 10:21:05 MDT 1999

>Oh, I laughed between squirms too. The violence was so extraordinary
>it was hard to know how to take it. The gender politics of the movie
>were quite strange - there were only two women of any consequence in
>the cast, and both were near-mute ciphers; Sally, the singer, gets
>hauled around by the antiheroes as a near-corpse after she's shot in
>the gut by a major gangster honcho. And the men bond with each other
>through their guns - the relation between men becomes the relation
>between their weapons. In a scene towards the end, one of the major
>characters shoots his long-time friend (and of course we get to see
>the formation of the exit wound in full bloodspray detail) to put him
>out of his misery because he had a bullet in his head that was placed
>there by another of the main characters, the greedy-evil Paul.
>Amazing stuff.
>Doug Henwood

In most action films made anywhere, female characters are simply vehicles
for representations of male rivalry/male bonding/homosocial desire.  (What
Eve Sedgiwick said in _Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial
Desire_ applies to HK cinema as well.)  Some HK films have a quite
interesting sex/gender politics of representation, however:  Wong Kar-wai's
_Chungking Express_ and _Happy Together_, for instance.  And how about
Peter Chan's _He's a Woman, She's a Man_ and _Who's the Woman, Who's the
Man_?  And check out Brigitte Lin's performance in Ronny Yu's _The Bride
with White Hair_.


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