Unhappy Desires and Queer Postsocialist Futures Unhappy Desires and Queer Postsocialist Futures: Hong Kong and Buenos Aires in Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together
- American Quarterly
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 69, Number 3, September 2017
- pp. 697-718
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
In an unlikely routing of queer sociality and representability in post-1997 Hong Kong cinema through Buenos Aires, Wong Kar-Wai’s Happy Together anxiously anticipates Hong Kong’s disappearance after the handover to China, foreshadowing the twenty-first-century creative and critical engagements with transpacific geopolitics of precarity andglobal capitalism in crisis. While the film has been analyzed in relationship to Hong Kong localism, we consider how Happy Together becomes an unintended locus to apprehend the relationship between colonial and authoritarian legacies and neoliberal futures that the film imagines awaits Hong Kong and Buenos Aires. The year 1997 was significant not only for the British turnover of Hong Kong to China but also as the start of a global economic crisis that devastated Argentina, once a dominant economic and political force in the Americas. We argue that Happy Together initiates an aesthetic of dislocation that ties neoliberalism with imperial pasts and negates neoliberal and postcommunist futures as necessarily inevitable for queer life. Despite the palpable presence of China and the United States as geopolitical forces, our analysis orients the film toward a South-South critique and theorizes queer possibility against US neoliberalism and Chinese postcommunism.