Waong Kar-Wai: a Top View

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Topics: Hong Kong
Wong Kar Wai: A Top View

"When did everything start to have an expiration date?"

That 's a question posed by a lovelorn cop in Wong Kar-Wai 's 1994 film ChungKing Express, and in a sense that line is a conveys what Wong 's films are all about. Wong Kar-Wai’s body of work has an immanent sense of flowing time and space that creates a blend that gives us the sense of fleeting time, memory and the chaos of the contemporary urban life. He is one of the most influential directors of Hong Kong with an impressionistic visual style. Mostly known for his films like, ChungKing Express (1994), Fallen Angels (1995), In the Mood for Love (2000), Wong has a distinct postmodern sense of structuring and styling his films. It is a collage of the most astonishing images and metaphors overlaid with dreamy dialogues, monologues and an unusual use of music that articulates this mix, producing a brilliant result. The ambiguity stimulates a bundle of feelings and imagination that touches us at the subconscious level.

This chapter takes a top view of the riddle and enigma of Wong Kar-Wai through the filter of key film theorists and authors. He is one of the few Hong Kong Chinese directors who are instantly recognized in the west. Quite aptly, his cinema is an assemblage of Eastern and Western features. But it is worthwhile to understand Wong as a Hong Kong filmmaker, how he reaches out to a global audience with his strong local roots and this blend of the global and local sensibilities. One of the major propositions is that he has been able to rise above the typical Hong Kong identity and surpass the pulp-fiction genre which mostly stands for the Hong Kong film industry. His moody and introspective films have more in common with European art house than the blood soaked crime sagas. They are rich in subtexts and symbolism and was rightly rewarded the Best Director Award in the Cannes (1997) for Happy Together. Secondly, in the Western eyes, he is a post-modern artist who brings



References: 1. S. Teo, Hong Kong Cinema, The Extra Dimensions. London: British Film Institute, 1997. 2 3. J. Bellamy, E. Howard, The Conversations: Wong Kar Wai, The House Next Door, Slant Magazine, April 29th, 2011. 4. S. Teo, Wong Kar-Wai, London:Vritish film Institute, 2005. 7. David Bordwell, Plenet HongKong, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2000 8 9. S. Teo, Wong Kar-Wai, London:Vritish film Institute, 2005. 10. Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2:The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson Robert Galeta, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. 11. Y. Yueh-yu, “A Life of Its Own: Musical Discourses in Wong Kar-Wai’s Films” Post Script Vol. 19, No. 1 (Fall 1999) Bibliography: Teo, Stephen, Auteur of Time, BFI World Directors, British Film Institute, London, 2005. Teo, S., Hong Kong Cinema, The Extra Dimensions. London: British Film Institute, 1997. Yueh-yu, Y., “A Life of Its Own: Musical Discourses in Wong Kar-Wai’s Films” Post Script Vol. 19, No. 1 (Fall 1999) : 120-136. Bordwell, D., Planet Hong Kong, Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment. London: Harvard University Press, 2000. Cheuk-to, L.., “The Return of the Father: Hong Kong New Wave and its Chinese Context in the 1980S” New Chinese Cinemas: Forms, Identities, Politics. Ed. N. Browne, P. Pickowicz, V. Sobchack & E. Yau. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Abbas, Ackbar, Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearances, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997.

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