Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wong Kar Wai

Wong Kar Wai was just selected to the presidency of the jury for the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. This is the first time there has been a Chinese president but, more importantly, it is a reason to mention a fantastic director and one of the best movies from last year: 2046.

Together with his cinematographer, Christopher Doyle, Wong Kar Wai makes lush, atmospheric films that have a distinct and mesmerizing visual style. His plots are often non-linear and complex, so the story lines can be hard to follow. However, he works with the best actors in Chinese cinema and achieves unique and magnificent results.

2046 (watch the trailer) took so long to complete that critics in Hong Kong were speculating that 2046 would be the release date. Instead it debuted at Cannes in 2004 and had a US release in 2005. Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi join a cast familiar to Wong Kar Wai fans (Faye Wong, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, his ever-present protagonist) and turn in spectacular performances in this stark and depressing chronicle of tragic relationships.

For those that have seen 2046, you already know that it is unlike any previous Wong Kar Wai film. For those who have not seen it, I would suggest starting with his earlier films. Recommended are:

Bonus photos: 2046 stills, Maggie Cheung, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung