Filmmaker spotlight: Wong Kar-wai

Wong Kar-wai
Chungking Express

The Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai has been making films since the late 1980s, but it was his 1994 movie Chungking Express, discussed here by Stephen Teo in his book in the BFI ‘World Directors’ series, that brought him international acclaim. In her article on contemporary authorship in The Cinema Book, Pam Cook considers how Wong’s filmmaking balances influences from popular Hong Kong and American cinema, art cinema, and his own unique aesthetic. In her overview article, Gina Marchetti places Wong in the context of Hong Kong cinema’s “second wave” directors and anxieties around the 1997 transfer of sovereignty from the UK to China. Throughout his career, Wong has often worked with the same actors and production crew. In this diary extract, published in the film journal Projections, of the shooting of Wong’s 1997 movie Happy Together, Wong’s longtime collaborator, cinematographer Christopher Doyle, provides a fascinating insight into his working practices. In this chapter from his focused study in the BFI Film Classics series, Tony Rayns traces the production history of Wong’s 2004 romance In the Mood for Love, and its relationship to the director’s earlier works.

Wong Kar-wai image on Homepage and Spotlight page: Wong Kar-wai on set of The Hand from Eros, directed by Wong Kar-wai, Michelangelo Antonioni, Steven Soderbergh (2004) (Photo by Mary Evans/AF Archive/Warner Bros)

Chungking Express image on Spotlight page: Faye Wong in Chungking Express (Chung Hing Sam Lam), directed by Wong Kar-wai (1994) (Photo by Mary Evans/AF Archive/Jet Tone Production)