[Lecture] “Killing Time: The Hong Kong Handover and its Afterlives”

A public talk by Professor Carlos Rojas, Duke University

This talk uses an analysis of Fruit Chan’s 2016 film Kill Time to reflect on the legacy of the Handover, and on the significance of its twentieth—and, later, fiftieth—anniversaries. Although Chan’s film is set in contemporary Beijing, is based on a novel by a Mainland Chinese author, and at first glance appears to have little to do with Hong Kong, this talk argues that if we look beyond the film’s surface narrative, we find that the work explores a set of concerns relevant to the Handover and its legacies, and particularly the sense of anticipation and anxiety that the Handover has generated, as well as the sense of potentiality and foreboding contained in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Agreement’s guarantee that Hong Kong would enjoy a post-Handover moratorium of “fifty years without change.”

Carlos Rojas is Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; and Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University. He is the author, editor, and translator of numerous volumes, including Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation in Modern China, The Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures (co-edited with Andrea Bachner), and several novels by Yan Lianke.


This event is sponsored by the CCK Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinology; hosted by the Modern Chinese Culture Seminar at UBC; and co-hosted by the UBC Department of Asian Studies, the UBC Centre for Chinese Research, and the Hong Kong Studies Initiative at UBC.