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Temporality in Rouge

Rouge, a ghost film in which the ghost could well be Hong Kong itself, is about a female ghost from 1930s Hong Kong comes back to 1980s Hong Kong to look for her lover with the help of a couple, whose relationship is affected by her presence. In the film, one can see issues of multiple temporalities, spatialization of history, the deja disparu, etc.

The director uses cross-cutting back and forth between the 1930s and 1980s stories to give us a sense that the two timelines are on-going simultaneously. By deliberately putting the bygone temporality side by side with the current one, the director creates the "same 'meanwhile'" mentioned in Clocks for Seeing for two temporalities in the same space. But unlike the modern homogeneous time symbolized by clocks that functions in a Hegelian teleological sense in Clocks for Seeing, clock, or specific time in Rouge actually becomes a connecting point between the past and present. The time that the couple committed suicide which is translated into number 3811, is exactly the time that Fleur uses to try to find Chan in the present. The translatable homogeneous time that travels across time becomes the only connection between the two temporalities. Rouge in this way actually challenges the presumption in postcolonial critique of modern time that the colonized primitive, the anachronistic has always existed outside the modern homogeneous time and the binary created by this presumption, and complicates the notion of modern time.

Clocks for Seeing, introduction and chapter 3

The New Hong Kong Cinema and the "Déjà Disparu", Ackbar Abbas

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