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The Grandmaster (2013)
A solitary man in a white fedora weaves his way among dozens of nameless fighters as a silver rain cascades down around them. The slick street is illuminated by a single lamp, which casts off an ethereal glow. A blur of fists erupts and the bodies start to fall — elegantly in slow motion. We hear a comment that summarises the martial arts in two words: horizontal and vertical. Whoever remains standing, wins. The solitary man walks into the rain … (read more)
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Days of Being Wild (1990)
Days of Being Wild is one of the early films by renowned Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai. It has all the trademarks of Wong’s later works, such as Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. But despite being less well-known in the West, Days of Being Wild is certainly no less impressive than any other film by Wong. It is a beautiful movie that features unforgettable characters played by some of Hong Kong’s best actors and actresses working … (read more)
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Ashes of Time (1994)
As I see it, there have only been two rolled gold masterpieces of the Cantonese cinema since the late 1980s: John Woo’s bloodstained Vietnam odyssey Bullet in the Head and Wong Ka-Wai’s Ashes of Time. Both were produced within three years of each other and are poles apart in content and style, but they remain shining examples of a film industry at its peak.
Ashes of Time is based on a popular Chinese martial arts novel The Eagle Shooting … (read more)
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Astonishingly lush images lend 2046 a surface beauty unparalleled in previous Wong Kar-wai films, giving it a distinctive grainy ‘look’ that is difficult to faithfully describe. Production designer (and film editor) William Chang and cinematographers Chris Doyle, Lai Yiu-fai (Love Will Tear Us Apart, Infernal Affairs) and Kwan Pun Leung (Lavender, director of The Making of Happy Together) create textured, absorbing visuals that envelop the screen and make it shimmer, suffocating 2D space. This … (read more)
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Fallen Angels (1995)
Now we’ll have no nonsense about post-modern this or metaphors for urban that: for me, Fallen Angels is nothing more nor less than lush visual art set to a soundtrack that will send your cool meter spinning.
The saturated colour makes even an MTR station look exciting (I think it’s Mongkok, but I can’t be sure). Chris Doyle’s inimitable camerawork, combined with some of the most beautiful faces in the biz, should make everyone with a pulse want to down … (read more)
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Happy Together (1997)
This is the sixth film from Hong Kong arthouse director Wong Kar-Wai, and the one that netted him the Best Director award at Cannes in 1997. Wong takes two of Hong Kong cinema’s most handsome leading men to South America for a story of love lost and love endured. The script is partially based on The Buenos Aires Affair, by author Manuel Puig, whose non-linear narrative techniques were a seminal inspiration to Wong’s development as a film-maker and storyteller.… (read more)
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