Friday, April 29, 2011

The Conversations #25: Wong Kar Wai


Jason Bellamy and I have completed the latest installment of The Conversations, a discussion of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, and it has now been posted at The House Next Door. It isn't a full overview of every single Wong film (as much as we would have loved to do it, that would have been pretty overwhelming, to write and to read) but a selected overview of his career based on five films. Over the course of our conversation, we talk in depth about Days of Being Wild (1990), Chungking Express (1994), In the Mood for Love (2000), 2046 (2004) and My Blueberry Nights (2007). Focusing on these films allows us to examine Wong at different points in his career, considering how he's developed even while crafting a coherent cinematic universe that's always unmistakably his. We talk about his distinctive aesthetics, his thematic preoccupations, his actors, and the continuities between his films. I'm especially happy with how this conversation turned out, so take a look and as always, join the conversation in the comment section at the House, where we invite additional commentary about Wong in general, about the films we talked about or the ones didn't.

And next month, toward the end of May, be on the lookout for the next Conversation, covering the work of Terrence Malick in preparation for his forthcoming film The Tree of Life. That piece will be a two-parter, with the first part a career overview of Malick's first four films and the second part a discussion of his latest work.

Continue reading at The House Next Door

8 comments:

Shubhajit said...

Amazing conversation on Wong Kar-Wai, one of my favourite filmmakers.

Great that the two of you covered some of my favourite Wong films. I completely agree with your summation that My Blueberry Nights was a minor Wong at best.

I'd be interested to know your reactions to Ashes of Time, which, along with Chungking & 2046, rank as my favourite Wong film. In the Mood for Love, accepted by most as his best, would rank slightly behind these 3.

I was also glad that you had a lot of positive things to say about Days About of Being Wild.

Ed Howard said...

Thanks a lot, Shubhajit! Glad you enjoyed the conversation.

Ashes of Time is actually the only Wong film I haven't seen yet, I really need to get around to it soon. Especially since you cited it as your favorite, along with the 2 Wong films that are *my* current favorites.

vidal said...

Hooray! I haven't read it just yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading it. I completely forgot Wong also made My Blueberry Nights; it's the only film I haven't seen of his besides, like you Ed, Ashes of Time. The negative reviews are seriously giving me pause, though.

Also, I wanted to ask: what's the deal with convos 12 and 14? Are they still works in progress?

Gekko P. said...

Ashes of Time (I got the Redux edition) is my favourite Wong Kar-Wai, get it soon Ed.
It's so peculiar, a unique item in his career. Along with Tsui Hark's The Blade, Ashes of Time is a step forward in the wuxia genre. A step in a direction no one has been able to follow.

Ed Howard said...

Thanks, Vidal. If you're a Wong fan, I wouldn't let the negative reviews hold you back from My Blueberry Nights. It's undoubtedly minor Wong and a flawed film, but it has its pleasures. It's worth seeing if only to get a complete picture of the director. Convos 12 & 14 are part of a project that, we hope, will finally come together later this year. They'll appear eventually!

Gekko, I'm definitely going to make Ashes of Time a priority. I had wanted to check it out prior to the convo and just didn't get a chance. Can you (or anyone else) recommend whether the redux or the original version is the one to see?

Gekko P. said...

I only have the redux version, can't find the original cut unfortunately

vidal said...

Huh, according to Wikipedia, the original Ashes of Time is the longer version whereas Redux is a shorter recut, and the only version available (probably in the US)...

Gekko P. said...

WKW has also improved the visuals for the redux. Just check on youtube, two totally different films.