Wong Kar-Wai


As a British colony until 1997 and Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong has created a popular culture completely unique to East Asian metropolitan living. This is demonstrated, in part, by the rich cinema tradition that has been continually exported from Hong Kong since the late 1970s, which bore films that distinctively combined East and West. While the region has produced some of the most memorable martial arts and action films of the late 20th century, the “Hong Kong New Wave” also witnessed the emergence of several great dramatists including Stanley Kwan, Yim Ho, Ann Hui and, of course, Wong Kar-Wai. For someone unfamiliar with Hong Kong firsthand, Wong’s films provide a resonant, bewitching, perhaps even definitive portrait of the city. In his international breakthrough Chunking Express, the densely populated metropolis’s kinetic movement and globalized circuits are accentuated by the film’s restless camera and Cranberries-infused soundtrack. In the Mood for Love stages several intimate meetings of traditional and contemporary life in the claustrophobic corners in an exponentially vertical Hong Kong. The dizzying 2046 presents a Hong Kong ever at the concurrent precipice of the past and the future. With The Grandmaster opening wide this weekend, Wong’s dramas now meet with that other signature Hong Kong genre, the martial arts film, providing as good of an opportunity as any to explore what makes his work so distinctive. So here’s some free advice (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the director who somehow convinced us that beauty lies in a slow […]



When you hear that director Wong Kar-wai, the modern master who brought us the beautiful and complex romance In the Mood For Love, is directing a martial arts film based on the life of the legendary fighter who trained Bruce Lee, you expect it to contain quite a bit more beauty and subtlety than your usual kick/punch affair. But while the first trailer for his upcoming, fight-heavy, Ip Man biopic, The Grandmaster, was rather beautiful to look at, it also contained some throwback trailer narration that was so overblown and melodramatic that it felt like it should have been attached to a Cannon Films release from 1987. What a weird choice. The Grandmaster has just released a new trailer though, and while it still contains mostly just a bunch of gorgeously-shot action sequences that don’t give us much of an idea of what to expect from the acting or storytelling of the film, it at least ditches the cheesy narration in favor of a track from famed kung-fu-loving hip-hop star the RZA. Click through to watch some people take some mad beatings that are set to some mad beats.



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The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster is by no means the first film to chronicle the life of Ip Man, the legendary martial artist who famously trained Bruce Lee. Since 2008, his story has already been the subject of four films and a TV series. But the Ip Man train keeps on rolling, and with the in-development Ip Man 3 having potentially lost its director and lead actor, The Grandmaster now has the distinction of being the only Ip Man film releasing anytime soon.



“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, we have an entry suggestion from filmmaker Justin K. Staley. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Museum of the Moving Image Location: 35th Avenue at 36th Street, Astoria, Queens, New York City Opened: September 10, 1988 No. of screens: 2 (not including wall space used during exhibitions and installations) Current first-run titles: none, but there is a preview screening and discussion of Fruitvale Station this Thursday


In the mood for love / In the mood for love

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they wonder whether Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung‘s characters in Wong Kar-wai‘s In the Mood For Love really commit adultery and discuss the restrictions that led this film to become an instant classic. In the #24 (tied) movie on the list, two neighbors who suspect their spouses of shared infidelity build their own lonely relationship in revenge. But why is it one of the best movies of all time? Let’s investigate.


The Grandmasters

Ip Man was an early 20th century master of a specific style of martial arts known as Wing Chun, and while he’s highly revered in China his biggest claim to fame in the Western world has been by way of his most famous student: Bruce Lee. He died in 1972, but his stature has continued to grow thanks to recent films about his life. The most notable ones are Ip Man and Ip Man 2 which starred Donnie Yen in the title role and kicked insane amounts of ass. The latest entry in Ip Man’s biopic canon comes from an unlikely source in director Wong Kar-Wai. He’s been working on The Grandmasters to various degrees over the past few years with Tony Leung as Ip Man joined by Chen Chang and the lovely Ziyi Zhang. It covers the same ground as Yen’s films but looks to be a bit more artsy. Check out the trailer below.



Last night a bunch of critics in the UK were treated to an early screening of Skyfall, and while nobody invited any of our diehard 007 junkies, I figured it’s worth our while to take a look at the first reactions to the new James Bond blockbuster. To do so, I’m using the recent breakdown of elements by one of FSR’s resident Bond experts, Kevin Carr, in order to dissect the reviews and highlight their takes on each individual ingredient. What about overall opinions? It seems they’re generally of a simple consensus, that Skyfall is not only a great return for the series following the disappointing Quantum of Solace but it may be one of the best Bond installments yet. This feat is achieved, apparently, in director Sam Mendes‘s balance of serious and nostalgic tone, brought about with a script (by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan) pays tribute to the past films and franchise conventions while still also delivering a lot of fresh ideas. And Roger Deakins‘s cinematography sounds like a real highlight of the film — even Oscar-worthy, according to some critics. Check out what the reviews (linked at the bottom of the page) have to say about Bond’s fit with the 10 main ingredients of a 007 film after the break.


In the Mood For Love

For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by examining a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today. Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t make us stare longingly at Maggie Cheung without being able to do something about it. Part 28 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Adultery” with Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love.



Sixteen years after the release of Chungking Express – the film that placed Wong Kar-Wai firmly and what seems to be permanently in the realm of international auteurdom – it is repeatedly remembered and recounted as an exercise in Cannes-friendly urban arthouse cool, specifically in its constant comparisons with the style-heavy and suave work of early 60s Godard; Amy Taubin called Chungking Express the Masculin-feminin (1966) of the 1990s, and Tarantino has made vague comparisons to Breathless.


My Blueberry Nights

My Blueberry Nights is the first American film from director Wong Kar-Wai, which actually feels like three short films cobbled together. Great cast and some decent acting, but they feel like student films. Ouch.

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published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.23.2015

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