By Audrey Yue
This publication examines "Song of the Exile" as diasporic cinema. As textual content, its practices of diasporic intimacy problem the exilic myths of domestic and go back. As style, its use of postcolonial feminist autobiography articulates an alternate Hong Kong historical past. As pedagogy, its border practices permit the educating of transcultural literacy.
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Extra info for Ann Hui's Song of the Exile
Without the prodigal son and with a foreign daughterin-law, the protagonists make up an improper family with neither pure bloodline nor dutiful piety. When Ah Reng arrives, he is only shown quickly sitting down and hastily taking his wife away. Always shot fleetingly, and in distant middle and long shots, he is outside the centre of the domestic intimacy. Working in Hong Kong, he is unable to regularly fulfill his conjugal duties. Improper sexuality is evident in the lack of touch between husband and wife in this sequence, and through his failure to produce a son to continue the family ancestry.
This experience of marginalization and isolation is evident in the point-of-view shots in the nightclub and the dormitory’s hall. In the nightclub, she is seen sitting alone, and these shots are then cut to a group of people happily partying away; in the hall, she is also seen alone in a large 22 ● Ann hui’s Song of the exile empty room. In the last scene in her bedroom, the camera pans out to her silhouette by the desk against the sombre blue sky outside the window. This colour palette frames the whole sequence, beginning with the grey and dull London sky against the Thames embankment.
Nursing is a practice of emotional care and intimate labour. In Aiko’s case, she is seen tending not only to her brother’s sick son, but braving the unsafe conditions of postwar hostility by leaving her hiding place and seeking help. At the Japanese repatriation centre, she cooks and launders. In the film, Manchuria is the origin of a new ontology for Hueyin. Although Hueyin is not born in Manchuria, Manchuria is the place where her parents met and married. Ah Reng and Aiko first met when he stops his military truck to help the sick baby she is nursing and upon realizing they are Japanese, offers to take her brother, his son and her to the repatriation centre.