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Minor Movies: On the Deterritorialising Power of Wong Kar-wai’s Works

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The article approaches Wong Kar-wai’s cinematic work using the notion of “minor literature” as coined by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Minor literature—or, in other words, minor language—signifies oppositional/resistant uses of a major/hegemonic language. It appropriates hegemonic language and deterritorialises it by re-signifying its original meanings. By transferring this concept from literature to cinema, we can describe Hong Kong cinema, which deterritorialises Hollywood cinema, as a minor cinema in relation to Hollywood. Following this interpretation, Wong Kar-wai’s movies appear as a “minor language of a minor cinema” because they are significantly different from Hong Kong’s mainstream action cinema. Consequently, Wong’s movies possess a high level of deterritorialising power, which opens up new spaces of meaning and gives voice to positions usually oppressed by mainstream cinema. Finally, a close reading of Wong’s movie Happy Together shows how “minor movies” challenge the mainstream’s unison and give space to a resistant and transforming polyphony.


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