New publication on rooftop cinema

Written together with Yiu Fai Chow, this piece is just published in the Journal of Chinese Cinemas. We ask ourselves, living in the spectacle of Hong Kong’s skyscape, how often do its dwellers actually see, not to mention reach, its rooftops? Intriguingly, despite their apparent ephemerality and inaccessibility, the vertical fringes of the city feature frequently in Hong Kong cinema: the rooftop. In this article, we connect the cinematic trope of the rooftop to the anxiety of living in a postmetropolitan city like Hong Kong. We do so by walking with Georg Simmel’s blasé attitude and Benjamin’s flânerie in the metropolitan city, to meet Christoph Lindner’s more (self-)destructive blasé individual trying to grapple with his postmetropolitan anxiety. Finally, we posit to understand the deployment of rooftops in Hong Kong cinema – in the crime thriller Infernal Affairs, the coming-of-age drama High Noon and the psychological horror Inner Senses – as a way out, literally and figuratively, a space where one negotiates and perhaps overcomes a blasé postmetropolitan individuality with moments of radical reconnection.

Please go here to read the article.