The Translocalized McDull Series: National Identity and the Politics of Powerlessness
The animated film Me & My Mum was released in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2014 and proved to be a huge box office hit, cashing in on the existing McDull animated films that are hailed as the best animations in Hong Kong. Previous scholarship suggests that the McDull animated film series is a symbol of Hong Kong local culture; it serves as a repository of the changing landscapes of Hong Kong and demonstrates hybrid identities. However, this article argues that the McDull animated film series is more translocal than local, a fact which reveals the dynamics of the Hong Kong–mainland China relationship after Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. The translocalized McDull series demonstrates an obsession with Chineseness which helps to evoke the national identity. By aestheticizing powerlessness as cuteness through anthropomorphic animals, the McDull series used to be highly political; they grappled with the wounds of society in Hong Kong. However, the articulation of a well-rounded McDull in the translocalized film Me & My Mum indicates that it is conforming to the Chinese Communist Party’s ideology of ideal children while the political power of aestheticizing powerlessness is repressed, revealing the dominant power of the Chinese film market.