Film Song of Exile

Published: 2021-09-12 13:35:09
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The film Song of Exile depicts the diasporic life of a Japanese mother, Aiko, married to a Chinese National soldier, and their daughter, Huiyin, who are able to reconcile, and understand each other's as well as their own identities and ethnicities in the "conditions of displacement (and resettlement) in the hostland(8)" after their visit to Japan, the mother's homeland. Through the numerous uses of flashbacks going back and forth between the present and the past, the two characters appear in many different countries they had once lived in, including Japan, China, Britain, Macau, and Hong Kong, showing their long duration of exile. This use of cinematic flashbacks in the film Song of Exile is in relevance to Gilles Deleuze's time image theory, in that while the original notion of time was a linear chronological succession, with the introduction of cinema and its moving images where it provided an object-like nature of images seem actual, time can be now seen as past and future penetrating into the present, where "action subordinates time"(Chow, 92). In other words, this permeability of time that Deleuze explains, allows us to enter into the virtual world of past through memory, cinematically portrayed in flashbacks, while living in the present. It allows time to be permeable. In the film Song of Exile, Through actively incorporating objects, specifically mirrors, these cinematic flashbacks allow for a feminine agency through "multiplicities in motion"(Chow, 95) such as memories to appropriately portray the process of "psychic interiority" as the visual images of the past convey what was going on in the characters' ego as seen the flashbacks in which the characters discover who they are.
The film first introduces Huiyin's psychic interiority with the presence of a mirror. Zooming up into her resume that indicates her place of birth, Hong Kong, and her Nationality, British, then using a high angle shot to show half of her face in the mirror, a self-reflective tool, while she is writing her resume, this foreshadows the self-exploration that she is about the embark on throughout the movie. Huiyin is seen earlier in the movie that she is subject to discrimination as an ethnic minority and feels that she does not fully belong in Britain, despite the fact that her nationality is Britain as well as the fact that she is fluent in English, as Huiyin is often left alone, for example, at the bar while her friends flirt with other British men. This shows that she is "confronted and constructed by everyday and institutionalized racism"(Yue, 21). Soon after writing a part of the resume, Huiyin soon decides to attend her sister's wedding in Hongkong, a choice that would eventually allow her to truly understand who she is and reconcile with her mother through the flashbacks.

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