If you have been a reader of this site for awhile, you might know about my long drawn out love affair with the films of Wong Kar Wai. I even loved My Blueberry Nights which other people (who don’t know any better) dislike so much that it’s streaming for free on YouTube.
Wong’s films are difficult to find in streaming circles – streaming circles will have one or two at a time. Netflix is streaming The Grandmaster, one of his latest films. Amazon Prime has 2046, which you shouldn’t see until you’ve seen In The Mood For Love (which it doesn’t have), Ashes of Time Redux, and My Blueberry Nights. But none of these are the remastered beauties being streamed through the Pacific Film Archives.
Just in time for some cold weather streaming here in the north, the Pacific Film Archive has made a series of remastered Wong Kar Wai films available for streaming online. The films are only available to stream in the US and Canada and are $12-each, with a discounted fee for BAMPFA members at $8.
If you have never seen a film by Wong Kar Wai, and you happen to be a film nerd, I would suggest watching them in chronological order which shows his development as a filmmaker over the years. If you can only watch one, then In The Mood For Love is my pick. There is even one in the PFA list that I haven’t yet seen, The Hand.
Wong’s films are subtitled for English speakers. I’ve watched his films a second time or two without the subtitles because the flow of language in his films is just as important as his use of color and atmosphere. His films are also “sit-throughs” – you really don’t want to be stopping the film to take breaks. So plan to sit down and sit back and take it all in.
With long-awaited restorations of Wong Kar Wai’s films available at last, BAMPFA presents a retrospective celebration of the Hong Kong auteur’s contribution to contemporary world cinema. Having emigrated from Shanghai with his parents in 1963, Wong spent his childhood in Hong Kong’s numerous cinemas. He says that spending “almost every day watching films—French films, Hollywood films, Italian films, films from Taiwan, and local productions” was his version of film school, and the impact of this education is evident throughout his work. In his distinctly modern synthesis of classic Hollywood, Hong Kong genre, and European art films, Wong combines neo-expressionist cinematography, richly textured production design, and elliptical narrative structures to explore the existential complexities of change, desire, memory, love, friendship,…
Existence Is Longing: Wong Kar Wai
On View: December 11, 2020–February 28, 2021