Friday, May 06, 2005

ashes of time and days of being wild

being the wong kar wei fan that i am, i finally got a hold of two of his earlier works, the aforementioned ones in the title of this blog. overall, these are two strong films which show his progression into his later works such as 'chungking express' and 'in the mood for love'.

now, i must warn you: 'ashes of time,' if you don't pay strict attention to it, is very hard to follow. on first watching, tim and i declared it a piece of shit and complained that there was no plot, nothing to follow. i was dejected. here's one of my fav directors, whose only bad film is 'happy together' (BORING!). how could he have made another clunker? granted it was early in his career, but i just couldn't believe it. so i did an imdb search on the film and found many complaints of the same nature, each one urging me to rewatch and appreciate. so i did.

what's hard to follow about this film is that it isn't very linear, the characters for the most part have no names, and the violent/kung fu scenes are all stylized in slo mo and thus very repetitive. and yet, as i watched it, i found myself drawn into the plot. yes, there really is one! as the netflix blurb reports, 'the director lowers the volume on the action segments in favor of crafting a captivating and introspective character study.' well i would have to agree with that. the plot centers around swordsmen (and -women)-for-hire, with the narrator being the main speaker in a film that centers around their lost loves and lost lives. all realize their virtue is lost, and all wish to somehow retrieve it, knowing they cannot. 4 characters exist altogether, each one awash in sorrow and remorse. as i carefully watched the film, the 1 hr and 40 mins went by quickly. i definitely recommend this one, if you can pay attention well. it might take a couple of viewings, but it's definitely worth the trouble.

'days of being wild' is a more what i would call 'standard' wong film. it traces characters from relationship to relationship and seems a precursor to 'chungking' or 'fallen angels', although not quite stylized. here we see some of our favourite actors looking so young: leslie cheung, maggie cheung (oh wow, i almost didn't recognize her), andy lau, and carine lau. basically this is a story of leslie cheung's character, yuddie, manipulating both maggie's and carine's characters after he finds out his mom isn't his birth mom, and he goes on a search for her. jackey cheung is along for the ride as a contestor for carine lau's love. while not super-stellar, this is another good effort by wong, showing his move up in his directing abilities.

if you are a wong kar wei fan, believe me, you need to see these two...


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