Friday, December 2, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Wong Kar-Wai

Wong Kar-Wai
5 titles, 69th in points with 12,544

For me, Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai is a visual genius, one of the most interesting directors currently working. I get so lost in the raw talent of the visual imagery that I don’t even notice the story (or lack of one). This may bother some people, but I’ll guarantee that many western filmmakers are being influenced by his work.

Chungking Express

Tarantino for one is a big fan. His breakthrough film Pulp Fiction was inspired by Kar-Wai’s films Chungking Express and it’s loose followup sequel Fallen Angels. These were intended to be one long film in three different parts (or stories), and Kar-Wai instead released Chunking first, which was the first two unrelated stories. It’s an amazing street style with blurred action and hand held camera movement that always serves to place the viewer in the middle of everything. For just the pure art of filmmaking, these are some of the most exciting films being made these days – he reminds me of Kubrick for films with visual impact.

Fallen Angels

These are all the films of classic director Wong Kar-Wai’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. In the Mood for Love (2001) #167
2. Chungking Express (1994) #363
3. Days of Being Wild (1990) #464
4. 2046 (2004) #789
5. Happy Together (1997) #823

Almost in the top 1000
6. Fallen Angels (1995) #1094 Sequel to Chungking Express is almost as good and should be in the top 500

In the Mood for Love [photo above] is a gorgeously shot love story, with color reminiscent of the early days of technicolor glory, say the color palette of Gone With the Wind or Black Narcissus, but darker than either.

Chungking and Fallen Angels are about street people doing everyday things, and some petty crimes that occur around them. 2046 continues the story of the lovers from In the Mood For Love, the number being that of a hotel room where they once met. Days of Being Wild isn’t quite as memorable but is still worth seeing. I’ve yet to see Happy Together, it’s at the top of my queue at Netflix, I’ve been saving it, I don’t want to see all his films at once.

Missing here is Ashes of Time Redux (1994), a wonderfully creative martial arts/samurai film, about a magic wine with the power to make one forget the past. It was apparently re-edited and re-released by Kar-Wai a decade after it’s original – I only saw the reissued version, but I liked and and it should be ranked as well.

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

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