A literary director

Days Of Being WildI am not sure what I get when I come away from watching Wong Kar-Wai’s films but I know it’s something unnameable, unspeakable, something that cannot be caught with words. Some critic calls his works “mood pieces”. He stretches a mood to the point that it might almost snap and then moves on to create the next. I never saw another rain-drenched street again without thinking of Wong Kar-Wai. His frames are almost perfect. Watching a billowing skirt on a rain-drenched street, for two seconds, I was confused if I was watching a still painting or a movie! In Days of Being Wild – on second thoughts, not just Days – he concentrates on the inner life of his characters rather than the oppressive outer life in cramped, sweaty apartments.

The blatant image of clocks signified – not surprisingly – time and what we lose every second, because his films are more about loss than love. We don’t just lose time, we lose everything every second. Time becomes a symbol of loss even. With such symbolisms floating all over the place, I consider him a literary director.

I felt this huge sense of relief when I saw Chungking Express. Subsequent viewings would reveal other feelings but the first one was very significant. I was relieved that someone had put emotions under a microscope. Wong Kar-Wai was so interested in finding out about the minutiae of emotions, some specific emotioChungking Expressns at that. He dissects love, loss, and longing the best. At the end of the movie, the viewer is completely immersed into the mood/atmosphere so much that it’s difficult to get out of it for a few days at least. The music, the rich visuals, all assault the senses. One of the few assaults that I actually like.


6 thoughts on “A literary director

  1. Oh god, this is just the perfect description. Yes, Kar-Wai does that and more. He has the ability to plant thoughts. Loss is an integral part of our lives and you rightly pointed out the time equation there. Isn’t it fascinating someone out there thinks that way too? There’s something remotely identifiable there that can’t be described.

    What I particularly enjoyed noticing the most when I saw Chungking Express was this restless hand-held camera work. That captures the intensity of time so brilliantly. I had never seen that sort of visual experiment with respect to one’s intentions with the script and translating it on screen. The guy’s a genius.

    1. Hey Rohit: Yup! Isn’t he just amazing! And I agree, Wong Kar-Wai’s genius lies in defying description! 😀 Oh yeah, I barely touched on the camerawork. I’d probably need another post decided to that. His shots are so varied. Some of them still and haunting. And the way he uses objects – everyday objects – they become symbols of something else. The fan in Chungking Express, for example. The hot opressive world it and the time – the 60’s Hong Kong- it echoes. Sigh…

  2. I love how you describe WKW’s films! Pity we couldn’t catch the screenings. We should get together and watch a film or two sometime.

    1. Hey M! Thank you! Coming from you, it’s a compliment! I know! I almost went to few screenings and then suddenly at the last moment felt like not going anywhere. Of course, we should watch a few movies! Btw, I have been garnering my thoughts on Camera Buff. Hopefully, I will put them down soon.

  3. Oops, I didn’t turn on comment notification so I only saw your reply now. Also saw your review about the concert. Sounds lovely, wish I could’ve seen it too.

    1. M: That is okay! I know! I wish you’d have been there too! There is a Korean music concert, a different group though, on December 7th. Wanna go?

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