14 août 2007

A short note on Wong

Wong Kar-wai's films suffer from an excess of style. Even when he should efface the in-your-face style he's known for, his camera and lighting and editing fill in for story. When he hit his stride with Happy Together, it's because he began investing energy in the creation of character and arc. His previous work, for all of its romance, feels like a music video of an adolescent idea of romance; with Happy Together, Wong finally grows up, but cannot escape his inclination to overstylize to punctuate emotion. In Wong's "mature" films (Happy Together, In the Mood For Love) this punctuation also lasts from the first frame to the last, but this tendency is also his downfall... How much more powerful would the end of In The Mood For Love be if he chose that moment, that final secret glimpse into the heart, to switch to a spare, static camera?

In the Mood For Love, 2001

prompted by a recent viewing of Fallen Angels.

2 commentaires:

................................................................... a dit…

I don't think style holds emotions, on the contrary. Style helps to define emotions. You only need to understand who's style is it? The director's style or the characters'?

Style for itself never works, it seems shallow, not in place. But cinema is style, mixing audio and visuals is style, and when this style goes hand in hand with the story and/or characters, this is cinema.

Wong Kar Wai does cinema.


dave a dit…

Frequently, I agree with you. But often, it seems to me that Wong gets carried away with the cinematic tools that emphasize emotion, to the point of obscuring it, or at least blunting its power.