Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fallen Angels

Wong Kar-Wai, 1995, China/Hong Kong (9.0*)
I recently re-watched this Wong Kar-Wai film because it had been remastered for dvd, and I couldn't remember it from over a decade earlier. I was surprised and riveted by the stunning visuals. Kar-Wai is a visual master, and this is one of the most visual of his films. This is the 'sequel' to his excellent Chungking Express, the two films being intended to be one long film by Kar-Wai but due to length he put them out as two separate films. Taken together, the films are either a trilogy or tetralogy, it's kind of hard to tell, but suffice to say that they are films of more than one story. These films were the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, hence the trilogy of stories in that film.

The story is not the important part of these films, which are basically urban crime films, with a kind of 'neo-noirish' slant, as filmed by Hong Kong. This story is about a hit man, pondering one last hit before 'retiring'. The visuals take precedence here, with the cinematography of Christopher Doyle (who also works with Chinese master director Zhang Yimou) dazzling and inventive, as usual. The two films together provide an exciting introduction to the Hong Kong crime style, and have proven very influential around the world.

Note: When filmed, Hong Kong was still British. Since its reverted to Chinese nationality, I've been designating these as from China so that a scan for Chinese films will turn these up also. It's a major dilemna, you don't want to offend anyone, but will obviously offend someone - so I'll likely list them as both, no problem there. Same problem with Czechoslavakia vs Czech Republic.. You want a search of those to show Closely Watched Trains, Kolya, and Zelary, rather than have them split up between defunct and active nations.


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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