Silent but imperial: ethno-racial transgressions and interracial brotherhood in the French-Hong Kongese fiction film Vengeance (2009)
Jacob Ki NIELSEN
Abstract The present article centers on an analysis of the French-Hong Kongese- neo-noir crime film Vengeance from 2009. It demonstrates how the representations of inter-ethno-racial kinship in the film can be seen as a transgression and challenge of an existing mono-racial ideology. Thus, I argue that the film thematizes a subtle yet dichotomously structured friction between two imperial ethno-racial ideologies namely between an emerging Christian version of multiculturalism embodied by the protagonist Francis Costello and his family and the existing Han Chinese mono-racial ideological order represented by Fung the antagonist of the film. Further, the article contemplates how ethno-racial ideologies in Vengeance comment on other similar thematizations in contemporary East Asian cinema and on postcolonial and imperial histories in Asia at large. As a critical multiculturalist, the author stands in opposition to mono-ethno-racial ideologies while also being suspicious of uncritical or misconceived celebrations of multiculturalism.
Keywords: Imperialism, deimperialization, multiculturalism, multicultural family interracial kinship, pureblood ideology, ethno-racial transgression, Asian cinema, mixed-race.
Jacob Ki Nielsen is a PhD fellow at University of Copenhagen, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies. He has a background in Korean Studies with a minor in Film and Media Studies. His dissertation concerns representations of multiculturalism, transnational kinship and interracial relations in South Korean pop culture. Currently he is also researching Asian cinema and Korean Adoption Studies related topics.