Pilgrimage to a Memory Hole: Towards an Affective Study of Fan Tourism in Asia via Angkor Wat and Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love

This paper extends existing conversations on ”fan tourism” in East and Southeast Asia from the focus on economic advantages and impacts of blockbuster movies to the making of a ritualized space and affective experiences of audiences identified as fans/cinephiles. Using the case study of fan pilgrimage to Angkor Wat featured in the final sequence of Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000), the paper draws attention to the formation of iconic and cinephilic location through various textual engagements. The paper explores the way ritualized moments featured in these writings relate to a tradition in cinephilia, which favours moments when things gain agency in the film. Drawing on contribution of works in fan studies, the paper further points to the way in which fans turn the iconic space and cinephilic moments into their own “places of the imagination” (Reijnders, 2011, 8) through re-enactment. The paper concludes by reflecting on the total experience of pilgrimage as a meaningful journey by discussing fans/cinephiles’ own ethical and social reflections.