It’s About Time: An Introduction to the World Of Wong Kar Wai

As you may have seen, AFS is presenting a major package of new restorations starting Friday, December 11. World Of Wong Kar Wai is a series we have all been anticipating for years, and as the laborious process of restoring and making minute corrections to the masters has been undertaken by the filmmaker himself, a man known to pursue perfection in all things, it has been a hell of a long wait.

Well, finally it is here, and it is available for in-home viewing through our AFS@home platform. These films will also be available for in-cinema exhibition when things return to normal, and we will feature them at the AFS Cinema at that time. For now, AFS Lead Programmer Lars Nilsen has recorded a special video intro to the series, with a lot of in-depth information about Wong Kar Wai’s aesthetic choices – and those clocks.


And here, because they are little works of art on their own merits, are the trailers to the films in this series:

AS TEARS GO BY (1988), pretty non-characteristic of WKW’s later work, but a joy, featuring babyfaced Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung and Jacky Cheung:

DAYS OF BEING WILD (1990), Here we go with the WKW we all know and love. Christopher Doyle’s first WKW film as a cinematographer, and a giant leap ahead of AS TEARS GO BY’s aesthetic sense. Plus: clocks.

CHUNGKING EXPRESS (1994), the era of compromise is over. This is WKW being as wild as he wants to be, and the trailer reflects it. Interestingly the US trailer is much more conventional. Nonetheless, the film found its audience.

FALLEN ANGELS (1995) is a violent crime film, something that the Hong Kong cinema excelled in at the time, but nobody made one like this. This trailer is practically a show-reel for the wildly innovative shooting and editing style that WKW and his collaborators perfected.

HAPPY TOGETHER (1997): After the explosion of manic energy, this takes WKW’s aesthetic into a no less technically proficient register, but also one that focuses more on performances, and has a very different setting from the Hong Kong films. It was another stylistic turning point.

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000) is the first no-arguments masterpiece of WKW’s career. The pieces are all there – emotional richness, technical virtuosity, movie-star appeal and a tightly controlled mise-en-scene.

The final entry in this series THE HAND (2004) is the feature-length cut of a short film made as part of the anthology EROS (2004). The trailer, cut by the international distributor, is possibly a little cheesy so we will skip that one.

We hope you enjoy this series, whether these are rewatches or first-time watches, we think the enhancements in image quality and color will make the films even more vivid and meaningful.

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