Ever since my wonderful friend Helge introduced me to the beautiful world of Hong Kong Cinema about 8 years ago I have been a huge fan.
When I talk about Hong Kong cinema I do not mean martial arts, kung fu, Jackie Chan or any of that type of genre. For me the beauty of Hong Kong Cinema lies in the small and limited world of the “second wave” of “alternative cinema” that happened mainly in the late 1980’s and to some extent in the 1990’s – perfectly orchestrated like none other by the one and only Wong Kar-Wai. Every single work of his is art – art that seduces the senses. The man is a true genius and a pure artist like very few others and he works with one of the best cinematographers of our times – the exceptionally gifted Christopher Doyle (no one can make cigarette smoke look as beautiful and sexy and desirable as this man can).
Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpieces often featuring the late Leslie Cheung as well as the wonderful Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung are some of my all time favourite movies – lush visuals and music, melancholy, always a burden of memories and dreams unachieved or unattainable, misfit lead characters, mood heavy and yearling for romance, soaked and dripping in a layer of timeless nostalgic exotic heady incense. They are a dream and they transport you in time, they hypnotise you.
One my personal all time favourites is his “Fallen Angels” – surprisingly low on the melancholy and missing both Leung and Cheung – this 1995 movie is much less romantic or time-travelly as his other masterpieces, it is very urban and often categorised as a neo-noir film about a disillusioned hit-man trying to overcome the affections of his partner, a strange drifter looking for her ex-boyfriend, and a mute trying to get the world’s attention in his own ways, all set against a sordid and surreal urban nightscape. Cue: a LOT of neon lighting (that I obviously love).