Almost devoid of irony, Wong’s films, like classic rock and roll, take seriously all the crushes, the posturing, and the stubborn capriciousness of young angst. They rejoice in manic expenditures of energy. They celebrate the momentary heartbreak of glimpsing a stranger who might be interesting to love. The best comparison is surely not with Godard, whose romantic streak has a bitter edge. In Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong may have its Truffaut, the director who in Tirez sur le pianiste and Jules et Jim concentrated on not-quite-grown- up characters brooding on eternally missed chances. In any case, Wong stands out from his peers by abandoning the kinetics of comedies and action movies in favor of more liquid atmospherics. He dissolves crisp emotions into vaporous moods. For all his sophistication, his unembarrassed effort to capture powerful, pleasantly adolescent feelings confirms his commitment to the Hong Kong popular tradition.
David Bordwell, ‘Avant-Pop Cinema Romance on Your Menu: Chungking Express’ in Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment (Second edition: e-book; Wisconsin: Irvington Way Institute Press Madison, 2011), pp. 178-179
There are two compelling reasons for this: the first is there are lots more scholarly resources available, or discoverable, now on this filmmaker’s work that are worth listing, including some great items on video.
The second is that this is the first of two posts in celebration of the online publication, as a PDF, of a full colour, second edition of the peerless David Bordwell’s book Planet Hong Kong, an opus well worth its $15 pricetag, in FSFF‘s humble and, usually, frugal opinion.
FSFF doesn’t normally celebrate, or promote, pay-to-own resources. But, apart from the fact that this is a highly interesting development in online Film Studies publishing in its own right, no one has given so generously online, either of his already published work or of his ongoing scholarly work, as David Bordwell.
What is more, Bordwell’s PHK chapter entitled ‘Avant-Pop Cinema’, with its lyrical and beautifully illustrated section on Wong’s work: ‘Romance on Your Menu: Chungking Express’, is worth the download price alone. If you need to save up to purchase Planet Hong Kong first, you can enjoy, in the meantime, several excellent posts at Observations on Film Art on Wong’s work, including ‘Ashes to Ashes (Redux)’ and ‘Years of being obscure’.
- Brian Hu, ‘Pop Music and Wong Kar-wai (visual essay)’ Mediascape, Winter 2011
- Vicky Thai, ‘Wing Kar-wai’s Notion of Time’, Vimeo, December 15, 2010
- Quentin Tarantino on Chungking Express on YouTube
- Acquarello on Wong Kar-wai at Strictly Film School
- Matt Bautch, ‘The Cultural Aesthetic of Wong Kar-wai’, Latent Image 2003
- Gary Bettinson, ‘Wong Kar-wai and the Aesthetics of Disturbance’, David C. Lam Working Paper Series, 105, November 2010
- Giorgio Biancorosso, ‘Romance, Insularity and Representation: Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and Hong Kong Cinema’, Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures Volume 1, No. 1, 2007
- Allan Cameron, ‘Trajectories of identification: travel and global culture in the films of Wong Kar-wai’, Jump Cut, 49, 2007
- Felicia Chan, ‘In Search of a Comparative Poetics: Cultural Translatability in Transnational Chinese Cinemas’, PhD, Nottingham University 2007, (chapter 3 – p. 147-201 – treats Wong Kar-wai)
- Ethel Chong, ‘In the Mood for Love: Urban Alienation in Wong Kar Wai’s Films’, Kinema Spring 2003
- Jeremy Cohen, ‘Lonely Hearts: Wong Kar-Wai’s Obscure Objects of Desire’, Eye Candy Winter 2006
- Christopher Doyle and Wong Kar-wai interview for Interview Magazine on Ashes Redux
- Wendy Gan, “0.01cm: Affectivity and Urban Space in Chungking Express.” Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies, November 2003
- John Christopher Hamm, ‘Review of Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time by Wimal Dissanayake’, MCLC Resource Publication, October 2005
- Ian Johnston, ‘Unhappy Together: Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046‘, Bright Lights Film Journal, vol. 47, February 2005
- Kent Jones, “Of love and the city.” Film Comment, Jan/Feb 2001. Vol. 37, Issue 1; p. 22
- Jo C. Law, ‘Time without end: exploring the temporal experience of wong kar-wai’s 2046 through Walter Benjamin’, In A. Benjamin and C. Rice (Eds.), Walter Benjamin and the architecture of modernity (pp. 159-173). Melbourne: re.press.
- Anthony Leong, ‘Meditations on Loss: A Framework for the Films of Wong Kar Wai’, Asian Cult Cinema 1999
- Toh Hai Leong, ‘Wong Kar-wai: Time, Memory, Identity’, Kinema Spring 1995
- Trish Maunder, ‘Interview with Tony Leung’, Senses of Cinema 2001
- Kathryn Millard, ‘Writing for the Screen: Beyond the Gospel of Story’, SCAN, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2006
- Martha Nochimson, ‘Ashes of Time Redux’, Cineaste,Vol.XXXV No.1, 2009
- Robert M Payne, ‘Ways of seeing wild: the cinema of Wong Kar-Wai’, Jump Cut 44, 2001, text version HERE
- Mark Peranson, ‘The Numbers Game: Wong Kar-wai finally finishes 2046’, Cinemascope, 19
- Effie Rassos, ‘Everyday Narratives: Reconsidering Filmic Temporality and Spectatorial Affect Through the Quotidian,’ PhD, University of New South Wales, 2005
- Tony Rayns, ‘The Innovators 1990-2000: Charisma Express’, Sight and Sound January 2000
- Mina Shin, ‘Review of Planet Hong Kong’, Framework, 42, 2000
- Stephen Teo, ‘Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love: Like a Ritual in Transfigured Time’, Senses of Cinema 2001
- Stephen Teo, ‘2046: A Matter of Time, a Labour of Love’, Senses of Cinema 2005
- Stephen Teo, ‘Local and Global identity: Whither Hong Kong Cinema?’ Senses of Cinema 2007
- Donato Totaro, ‘My Blueberry Nights: Love Drives Full Circle’, Offscreen Journal, July 31, 2008
- Fiona A. Villella (symposium ed.), ‘The Cinema of Wong Kar-wai – A ‘Writing Game’, Senses of Cinema 2001 (entries on Backside; Blue; Creation; Dali-esque Time‘ Desire; Emotion; Look; Love; Possibility; Repetition; Space; Third-World; Time; Wrongheaded)
- Flannery Wilson,‘Viewing Sinophone Cinema Through a French Theoretical Lens: Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love, 2046, and Deleuze’s Cinema’, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Volume 21, Number 1 (Spring 2009)
- Elizabeth Wright, ‘Profile of director Wong Kar-wai’, Senses of Cinema 2002
- Laurel Wypkema, ‘Corridor Romance: Wong Kar-wai’s Intimate City, Synoptique, August 1, 2005
- Xuelin Zhou, ‘On the Rooftop: A Study of Marginalized Youth Films in Hong Kong Cinema’, Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies. Vol. 8, No. 2, 2008
- Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, ‘Transcultural Sounds: Music, Identity and the Cinema of Wong Kar-wai’, David C. Lam Working Paper Series, 69, November 2007