Wong Kar-wai (Contemporary Film Directors)
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Wong Kar-Wai traces this immensely exciting director's perennial themes of time, love, and loss, and examines the political implications of his films, especially concerning the handover of former British colony Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. This book is the first in any language to cover all of Wong's work, from his first film, As Tears Go By, to his most recent, the still unreleased 2046. It also includes his best known, highly honoured films, Chungking Express, Happy Together, and above all, In the Mood for Love. Most importantly, Peter Brunette describes the ways in which Wong's supremely visual films attempt to create a new form of cinema by relying on stunning, suggestive visual images and audio tracks to tell their story, rather than on traditional notions of character, dialogue, and plot. The question of Wong Kar-Wai's use of genre film techniques in art films is also explored in depth. Peter Brunette is the Reynolds Professor of Film Studies at Wake Forest University. He has written books on Roberto Rossellini and Michelangelo Antonioni and is the co-author of Screen/Play: Derrida and Film Theory. He is chief critic for indieWIRE.com and reviews Naremore.
instructs Tide to tell Li-zhen that he has forgotten her, since that will be best for all parties concerned. Then, in his present voiceover, Tide wonders if Li-zhen will have forgotten him as well. Cut to Yuddy’s dead face, backed up by the lush, romantic music we’ve heard throughout, followed by an extreme long shot of the speeding train. At this point, returning to the basic interconnected structural device of the ﬁlm, the other characters are seamlessly woven back into the narrative. The ﬁrst
mysterious ﬁgure played by Tony Leung Chiu-wai (who was Smirk in Days of Being Wild and who is not to be confused with Tony Leung Kar-fai, who plays Huang), an expert swordsman who is rapidly going blind. As in The Seven Samurai, the two men ﬁght off bandits on behalf of some oppressed villagers who can only pay them a pittance, in several rousing action scenes. The blind swordsman then (apparently) returns to his wife (Carina Lau), who has been the focus of several ﬂashbacks and voiceovers, and
uses of this inadvertent technique comes in a strange, lyrical shot of Ho and Charlie Young, taken through a window in the rain. Bordwell has usefully described this shot in detail in a picture caption in his book: “Dissolving melancholy in Fallen Angels: The camera ﬁlmed through the bar window while water sprayed onto the window’s edges; the actors moved very slowly, the extras in the background moved very fast, and the whole scene was shot at four frames per second. The shot lasts two minutes
written down as scene one, scene two, scene three . . . If you don’t have a clue about the story, it will be very risky to make a ﬁlm because you will waste a lot of time and effort. gc: So in practice, what is your collaboration with the cinematographer or actors on the set without a written script? wkw: Well, ﬁrst of all, I think we are very lucky. We have been working with mostly the same crew since my ﬁrst ﬁlm, so it is a team that has worked together for ﬁfteen years. And most of the actors
unknown, dark ﬁgure enters, to approach a glowing TV screen, which gives off its own suggestive visual feel. At this point we realize that the camera is contortionistically shooting Wah from a position exactly below, rhyming the overhead shot with Tears, Time, and Love 01.1-112_Brun.indd 9 | 9 1/21/05 1:07:40 PM which the ﬁlm began. (Similarly, in a later shot on Ngor’s face, we see her, against all expectations, upside-down.) Now that the soft side of Wah has been established (though not