Thursday, 8 April 2010

Days of Being Wild

The first film Wong Kar Wei directed and wrote. Audacious for any film, let alone a first film, to be so visually restrained: no costumes, no vivid landscapes, in fact hardly any landscape at all, since the horizon is hardly ever more than ten feet away. Hardly any colour either, and very little light. How is it that he can make a shot of a girl in a car on a rainy night so powerful, so desperate? He doesn't seem to write characters in the usual sense: his 'characters' are needs, attempts to satisfy and control needs. He seems to write about despair, anxiety, dissatisfaction, things we identify with very directly. The power of understatement, of things that aren't said: we know his characters from inside, elaboration isn't needed.

Made with the Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who also worked with him on his next four films, Ashes of Time, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and 2046. (& filmed Rabbit-Proof Fence in between.) I've managed to watch them all, in reverse order.

It's this kind of desperate intensity and visual power you remember him for, and I hope he goes back to it. My Blueberry Nights was disappointing, and the most recent completed film is on YouTube, a nine-minute short called There's only One Sun which I found so uninteresting I can't be bothered to link it.

Jean-Luc Godard's most recent film is also on YouTube. It's called Une Catastrophe (this is a link), it was finished in 2008, and it's just 1 minute 10 seconds long.

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