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.Shaped by their respective spatial settings (a nar-row staircase and a camera-enhanced outdoor location), these stylizedperformances display an affinity to the adroitness in the utilization ofspace for maximum visual expression in Hong Kong films while givingnew inflections to conventional practices.If the controlled and measured tempo of the police-walkers enablesthe camera to indulge in a nostalgic revisiting of the night-city, theresulting dream-like vision suggests a self-imposed circumvention of itsown nostalgia.As a distilled image, the city beckons for recognition astokens of familiar signs are folded into a defamiliarized dreamscape thatdefies accustomed perception.The displacement of the familiar into theunfamiliar also challenges the viewer to look for similarities betweenthe two contrastive perceptual realms.The frequent references to streetnames and local signposts, both visually and in dialogue, evoke mem-ories of the local by providing a fictionalized topographical index tothe cops itineraries.In its distilled form, the city becomes recognizablethrough the camera s (and our) active decoding of its self-effacement.This dj vu, or feeling of revisiting a scene from the past in the present,is recovered from what Ackbar Abbas calls the dj disparu in 1980s1990s Hong Kong film culture:  a handful of clichs.a cluster ofmemories of what has never been.an inability to read what is givento view.21 The sense of tension is reinforced by the time factor: the PTU 104 Schizophrenia, Amnesia, and Cinephiliasquad has to find the gun before daybreak.Thus, despite the camera sslow-paced visual mapping, beneath the police-walkers calm compo-sure is a heightening sense of urgency and anxiety.They are literally running out of time (a recurrent motif in Running Out of Time andBreaking News).If the surrealistic image of the night city has the quali-ties of a dream, there is also a tacit understanding that this dream willend, or disappear, with the night.In between a flaneur-like movementover space and relentless temporal flow, the film seeks out the sym-bolic potential of nostalgia by dissolving the components of the pastinto its own film medium that goes beyond the nostalgic.The pro-ductive tension between the dj vu and the dj disparu in PTU iswhere the post-nostalgic imagination emerges as an effort to mediatebetween a desire for some anchorage in the past, hence an identityderived from a sense of place and its cultural imaginations, and a desireto dislodge itself from the  handful of clichs in order to imaginewhat is.Loss and absence: Citing the heroicPTU is among To s hybrid creations that defy strict genre definitions bymixing elements of drama, action, and the kind of dark humour thatcharacterizes Hong Kong s popular cinema.If, in John Woo s cinema,space is a spectacle born out of a spiritual force moving dialecticallytowards an ultimate transcendence in the form of a hero s sacrifice orredemption,22 in PTU the deserted film city is a stage where heroism, andthe moral package of knight-errantry, is re-examined through a differentlens.Referring to Hong Kong films in the 1990s, Linda Lai remarks thatnostalgia is the desire to recover a  lost sense of moral community.23From a different perspective, Rey Chow locates this nostalgic yearningfor lost time (and space)  in the intertextual relations of the past andthe present.24 In Hong Kong s action cinema, nostalgic intertextualityis most vividly present in the adaptation of martial arts gallantry in herofilms.Filmmakers in the mid-1990s usually recast the heroic within anironic, self-referential narrative.But parallel to this rebellious aestheticis also an awareness of its connection to the older tradition, a formativeinfluence that gave Hong Kong action film its initial generic hallmark,and to whose visual aesthetic the later films frequently refer to.25 Suchintertextuality is discernible in PTU s deconstruction of the conventionsof policiers.Unlike many of its predecessors, the film s break with thepast goes beyond parody and mockery of the hero s machismo.Instead,it relies more on exploiting the image of uniformed police to destabilize Lost in the Cosmopolitan Crime Zone 105the boundaries between good and evil, order and disorder, and finallythe apparently incongruous narratives of heroism and corporatism.The film begins with Lo s missing gun and ends with his finding itwhen he slips over the same banana skin for the second time in a backalley.Although sloppy and incompetent, Lo is the centre of gravity ofthe film s main action.His blunders not only motivate the action butalso directly lead to the climactic gun battle, where two teams of policeofficers open fire with armed criminals, and two gangster bosses kill eachother in a cowboy-like duel.If possession of a gun is a symbol of power,Lo s missing gun justifiably removes him from the privileged position ofpower [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]