Sekzee, that is an extremely well thought out essay. Your final point that WKW suggests his stories rather than tell is well taken. Excellent job, it’s posts like this that keep me coming back to this site.
Thanks Chris Im glad you got something out of it :) The Cinema 21 project contains many more (21 in total) refined and informative essays than the one I wrote. Just type ‘Cinema 21’ in the search box and explore!
Great introduction Sean! :) I owe my love of cinema to Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love…
Perhaps it’s because I have a fascination with time…
… And a one-minute friend as suave as Yuddy would be so great. Days of Being Wild is one of my favourites from him.
Myra, WKW’s memory/time inspired this painting from my brother:
Thank you Myra! time is fascinating :P ITMLF and DOBW and CE are my three favorites.
Nohea, that painting is great does he have more?
First of all Wong’s quote at the beginning of the essay is perfect in every way.
Now, this is one of the best essays I’ve read in a long time. I first became a film junkie at Boston University back in 2002 and this man opened my eyes to cinema. Days of Being Wild is one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
This idea of “accented sentiment”, as you so eloquently phrased, absolutely hits the nail on the head. The cinema 21 essay on Haneke is the only other one I have read (Im new to the site) but this one even moreso has made me sincerely appreciate the director’s understanding of the filmmaking craft. I have always found his films engaging. The use of music might be his most valuable asset. I still need to see As Tears Go By and Ashes of Time but now I have the motivation. Excellent write-up!
P.S. your last sentance is striking. It manages to capture the entire enigma of Wong Kar-Wai in one beautiful sentance. There is really not much more you can say.
Thank you Bigwig! (great name, Threarah would be proud)
I agree about his choice in music. That is one area of his work that requires its own deconstruction separate from the initial film discussion. I’m assuming DOBW is your favorite? Amazing film. According to some DOBW is his masterpiece and its only his second film! In any case he was born to make films and I can only look on with anticipation.
You’re kind words have been much appreciated :)
EDIT: so anyone else excited for The Grand Master?!
I remember really adoring In the Mood for Love. Years later when I was at uni and the library started carrying dvds, I borrowed pretty much every WKW dvd they had including Chungking Express, Happy Together and Days of Being Wild. Then I rewatched In the Mood for Love but was strangely disappointed by it. I was actually really bothered by the overuse of the Galasso theme music . Also I realized I had misinterpreted a part of the film.
Chungking Express and Happy Together have since supplanted In the Mood for Love as my favorite WKW films. In fact I think I also prefer Days of Being Wild over it.
I enjoyed the character that Takeshi Kaneshiro plays and his obsession with expired food and whether he could put an expiry date on his love.
“I thought I was different from Po-Wing but it turns out lonely people are all the same.” is one of quotes I remember from the film Happy Together. I also found it hysterical when I heard that WKW lied to Tony Leung about the story and then made the gay sex scene one of the first scenes to be filmed.
RIP Leslie Cheung
Sekz, fantastic introduction. Happy Together is certainly (in my opinion) his best film, or rather, tied with Chungking Express. I do find that he tends to meander here and there, thus giving his films, while being shot with hyper-stylized and quick visuals, a kind of odd tone. It’s not my favorite thing to notice, but I still love his films, anyway.
Except Fallen Angels. That one didn’t seem to know what it was doing. It looked like Wong was basically just riding on the coattails of Chungking Express, but with no where to go. Yes, obviously, since it was envisioned as a third part to the previous film, it would be similar stylistically. That being said, the film starts out strong and then just gets more ridiculous as time goes on, going into passages of nothingness which go on for far too long. I admired the look, but often times, I just wished he would move along, because the point had been gotten a long time before. Was he padding the runtime? I doubt it, but oh well.
Still, it is a beautiful film to look at, most certainly, and giving us the person who I must think is the most beautiful woman to ever grace the silver screen (or that’s how I felt when I watched it), Michelle Reis. So, I don’t hate the movie, but I certainly don’t like it. For some reason, though, I feel like buying it on Bluray anyway. :/
Oh, and something of note. During the production of 2046, Wong and Doyle had a split, and they said they wouldn’t work together again. The Tony Rayns commentary on Chungking Express is absolutely a must-listen, if you haven’t heard it yet. It is brilliant, and it gives such depth on virtually all of Wong’s career. I cannot stress enough how important that is to listen to. :)
Zach thank you! I do agree that I should have paid mor attention to Happy Together when I was writing this since it is an incredible film.
And Fallen Angels is not one of my favorites either but I cant get past how dreamlike the photography was. He was able to literally stop time just when I was hitting a mental exhaust point and speed it up as soon as I began to lack interest. Its almost as though he had my thoughts predisposed in the film. This was something I realized but that might have been a personal thing. The same thing happened to me when I watched Ashes of Time. I didint have control of my emotions and that made me feel awkward but something about that is beautiful.
and I have not listened to the CE commentary yet I need to get on that! I just rented Eros as well so that is my last unseen WKW
Sekz, that’s interesting, and something that, yeah, might be quite personal. Trust me, I am willing to watch it again. One thing that bothered me most was Takeshi Kaneshiro’s portion, because it was just so awkward, you know? Like, I don’t know. I really like Kaneshiro, because he’s cool as hell, but, really, the only thing I liked was when he was recording his father, and when his father was, then, watching the tape. Oh well, though. It still IS beautiful. :) I bet it’s gorgeous on Blu.
Do you know of any plans for Criterion or someone to release a Bluray of In the Mood for Love? I want to know, because I’m hesitant about buying the non Blu… :/
Kaneshiro is great. His part was the weakest I agree. And yes father scene was touching. I have no idea about the blu ray of ITMFL I almost guarantee they will but not sure when. You are missing out on an excellent criterion though…his interviews are extremely sincere.
PS – have you seen Red Cliff? Kaneshiro and Leung both awesome lead characters and the film is fantastic.
Sekz, actually, I REALLY want to see Red Cliff, but it had better be the five hour version. :) I don’t much care for John Woo, but I’m not opposed to watching it.
Maybe I’ll rent the In the Mood for Love Criterion from Vulcan and watch EVERYTHING on it. :D
Red Cliff is either 5 hour version or noting :P the 5 hours gives lots of character development and nuance that I loved.
Sekz, that’s right. :D Who doesn’t love nuance and character development??? :D
Possibility of Criterion releasing In The Mood For Love on Bluray? anyone?