Photography’s Absent Times

Jean Ma

in Melancholy Drift

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028054
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207172 | DOI:
Photography’s Absent Times

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This chapter focuses on another form of technological surplus that distinguishes the film's historiographic approach, a surplus articulated by reference to photography and the conjuncture of the still and moving image. Photography dominates the inter-mediated perspective of A City of Sadness. The medium's central place in the narrative is conveyed by another of the Lin brothers, Wen-ching, who is a photographer by vocation. Given its longstanding association with a private sphere of remembrance and affective meaning, photography constitutes another means by which the film explores the zone of contact between history and the everyday. A mechanism for the personal inscription of time's passage, analogous to the diary as a discourse of memory, it introduces an additional layer into the film's collage of documentation and transmission. Photography signifies both the film's pedagogical investment in memory's critical possibilities and its suspicion of memory as a ready substitute for history.

Keywords: A City of Sadness; Wen-ching; collective memory; photography; history

Chapter.  8813 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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