On Tuesday, February 21, Images Cinema will host free film screenings of two Wong Kar-Wai classics, “Fallen Angels” (3pm) and “In the Mood for Love” (5pm). Then on Thursday, February 23 at 7pm, Professor of Chinese, Haili Kong of Swarthmore College, will present a talk, Time, Space, and Being: Wong Kar Wai and his Cinematic Illustration of Hong Kong Identity. Admission for all three events is free, and sponsored by the Asian Studies Department of Williams College. Images Cinema is located at 50 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA and imagescinema.org.
About Wong Kar-Wai
Wong Kar-wai is a different sort of director with six films to his credit: As Tears Go By (1988), Days of Being Wild (1990), Ashes of Time (1994), Chungking Express (1994), Fallen Angels (1995), and the film that won him the 1997 Cannes Best Director nod: Happy Together.
In an informative interview with the director, Han Ong introduces the master this way: “His style can be summed up by the phrase “Romance Overdrive.” The colors in his films are lush and lurid, the camerawork (by longtime collaborator Chris Doyle) jittery as if swooning, and best of all, he loves his characters and builds his films from that foundation. His men are cool, his women kooky and beautiful. The psychology in the films is rarely deep, but that isn’t the point.
“He takes the ridiculous beauty of Hong Kong action films one step further: In those movies one simply waits for the next thrilling sequence of carnage and passes over the thin, unmemorable connecting sequences; in a WKW film, the time between gunshots is filled in, lengthened, allowing for boredom, rumination (in his films, characters trade voice-overs like kicking a ball around), a sense of real time he effects by repetition or focusing the camera on what appears to be a dormant scene.
In other words, he puts in what other people leave out, or don’t bother to think about in the first place.” You can read his 1998 interchange between the film director and Han Ong (who is a playwright himself, a 1997 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. It’s all on his website Bombsite (link)
The Films Discussed at Images
Following the screening of two of Wong Kar-Wai’s films, Haili Kong will follow up with a lecture on the Hong Kong filmmaker’s work. Kong has a PhD in comparative literature, is a professor of Chinese, and has been teaching Chinese language, literature, and cinema since 1994 at Swarthmore College. His publication includes The Melancholic Northeasterner (1998), One Hundred Years of Chinese Cinema (2006), and Beijing: From Imperial Capital to Olympic City (2007).
FALLEN ANGELS (1995) Directed by Wong Kar-Wai; Rated R; 1 hour 30 minutes Set in the neon-washed underworld of present-day Hong Kong, Fallen Angels intertwines two exhilarating tales of love and isolation in a blitz of ultra-hip style and classical cinematic sensibilities. “An exhilarating rush of a movie, with all manner of go-for-broke visual bravura that expresses perfectly the free spirits of his bold young people.” – LA Times
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000) Directed by Wong Kar-Wai; Rated PG; 1 hour 38 minutes Winner of Best Actor and Technical Grand Prizes at Cannes Film Festival Chow Mo-wan rents a room in a Hong Kong apartment building. It’s sheer coincidence that he moves in the same day that Su Li-zhen moves in next door. They never have a real conversation until Mr. Chow realizes that their respective spouses are having an affair. “Probably the most breathtakingly gorgeous film of the year, dizzy with a nose-against-the-glass romantic spirit that has been missing from the cinema forever.” – New York Times
The only one of its kind in Berkshire County, Images Cinema is a year-round non-profit, member-supported community film house that presents a wide range of films that impact filmmaking and our culture. Images continuously seeks to entertain, educate and engage the community with quality programming, while maintaining its dedication to independent film and media. Images Cinema serves organic popcorn, real butter, locally-made baked goods, and naturally sweetened sodas, as well as traditional concessions fare. Images Cinema is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Check for up-to-date happenings at imagescinema.org