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Wong Kar-Wai’s Best Scenes

 
 
(Repost from: here.)
Love hurts in Wong Kar-wai’s films. As a director, he finds intoxicating beauty in broken hearts and melancholy poetry in missed opportunities. The Chinese auteur shines a dazzling, saturated neon light on the maddening complexities of relationships. He tells ravishing stories of introspective souls searching for love, sometimes getting it but more often than not running away from it. They’re scared, not of the other person, but of their own failings.

His films portray the torment of love as hopelessly romantic, seductive even. Today, we take a look back at his most heartbreaking scenes.
 
 
 
 
Chungking Express
 

 
Breakups affect people in odd ways. Chungking Express’ Cop 663 is so crushed after being dumped that he starts talking to objects in his flat. Unable to express his own loneliness and heartache, he projects his feelings onto inanimate items; telling off a bar of soap for losing weight and offering to give a shirt some warmth (with a good iron). This scene manages to be sweet, cute, funny and sad, all at the same time, while Tony Leung Chiu-Wai’s charming performance has a tender air of vulnerability to it.
 
 
 
 
 
In The Mood for Love
 

 
What’s left unsaid is often more important than what isn’t in Kar-wai’s films. Silence and stolen glances are more powerful than any words could be in In the Mood for Love where much of the plot is left to the audience’s imagination. It ends with a secret; Chow Mo-wan (Leung Chiu-Wai) whispers into a hole at Angkor Wat, pouring out his anguish over his maybe romance with Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung). We see only the back of his head as the haunting score starts up but the sense of loss is clear and it’s devastating.
 
 
 
 
 
2046
 

 
If In the Mood for Love is all about how love creeps up on you, 2046 is about the broken wreck it leaves behind once it’s gone. Its characters are walking wounded, too traumatised to try again. Chow Mo-wan, now a heartless womaniser, refuses to give his ex-lover Bai Ling another chance, determined to keep his heart to safe. ‘Why can’t it be like before?’ she asks wistfully, Zhang Ziyi’s beautiful face twisted in pain, but memories are all that’s left behind as time marches on relentlessly.
 
 
 
 
 
Fallen Angels
 

 
Mute He Zhiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is one of Kar-wai’s more manic characters but Fallen Angels’ sweetest moment comes when he’s watching an old videotape of footage he filmed of his father, who’s just died. At first, his dad is angry before he starts to enjoy the attention. But it’s the final shot of the pair sleeping side by side, He’s arm casually draped over him, that’s the killer. The poignant scene, which speaks of the complex love that exists between father and son, is gut-wrenchingly sad.
 
 
 
 
 
Ashes of Time
 

 
Ashes of Time was Kar-wai’s first stab at a wuxia epic, but its characters are too busy pining for someone they can’t have to bother much with martial arts. Maggie Cheung makes a short cameo delivering a heartbreaking monologue steeped in regret that encapsulates the film’s main themes. With the camera fixed on her, she sighs over lost love, the wasted years and wrong choices, knowing that, irrevocably, she only has herself to blame.
 
 
 
 
 
Eros
 

 
Ashes of Time was Kar-wai’s first stab at a wuxia epic, but its characters are too busy pining for someone they can’t have to bother much with martial arts. Maggie Cheung makes a short cameo delivering a heartbreaking monologue steeped in regret that encapsulates the film’s main themes. With the camera fixed on her, she sighs over lost love, the wasted years and wrong choices, knowing that, irrevocably, she only has herself to blame.
 
 
 
 
 
As Tears Go By
 

 
Kar-wai’s feature debut from 1988, As Tears Go By, influenced by Mean Streets, is in many ways his most straightforward film. Its most romantic moment comes when Wah (Andy Lau) pulls his cousin Ngor (Maggie Cheung) into a phone box and kisses her passionately as the camera circles around them. This is the image that flashes through his mind as he’s shot, his body falling with the same swooping motion as their embrace; love and death exploding with violence.
 
 
 
 
 
Days of Being Wild
 

 
Leslie Cheung is mesmerising as a charismatic player in Days of Being Wild, his heart numbed to love after his mother abandoned him as a baby. He goes in search of her, carelessly discarding lovers on the way, but she rejects him without giving him a chance, just as he does to his exes. As he walks away from her home, he’s determined not to look behind him so she can’t get a glimpse of his face; the backward glance towards the past is the most devastating.
 
 
 
 
 
Happy Together
 

 
They expressed their love for each other by tangoing in a kitchen but it’s in some public toilets that Happy Together’s gay couple Lai Yiu-fai (Leung Chiu-Wai) and Ho Po-wing (Leslie Cheung) realise just how alone they are. Now broken up, they nearly bump into each other as they look for someone else to pick up. Yiu-fai does what most people would do in this situation — he hides. ‘Turns out that lonely people are all the same,’ is the crushing realisation he comes to.
 
 
 
So tell us, what is your favourite Wong Kar-Wai scene?
 
 
 
 

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