Wong Kar-wai

WONG KAR WAI is acknowledged as one of the most exciting and influential directors in contemporary world cinema.

His concerns are typically suppressed desire, isolation, memory, and the loneliness of urban landscapes; his style is dense, moody and lushly atmospheric. Wong belongs to the mid-1980s Second New Wave of Hong Kong filmmakers, which also includes directors Eddie Fong, Stanley Kwan and Clara Law. The Second Wave, is often seen as a continuation of the First, as many of these directors worked as assistants to First Wave directors such as Tsui Hark, Ann Hui and Patrick Tam (with whom Wong collaborated). Born in 1958 in Shanghai,Wong moved to Hong Kong with his parents when he was five years old. He obtained a diploma in graphic design from Hong Kong Polytechnic School, and became a television production assistant. Working on several TV drama series, he became a scriptwriter for TV and later for films in the 1980’s, including “The Final Victory” (1987), which his mentor Patrick Tam directed.

Wong Kar Wai’s directorial debut, “As Tears Go By” (1988), gave him the opportunity to work with actress Maggie Cheung for the first time. The film, which established Wong’s strong visual style, introduced him to the world film community as an up-and-coming talent at the 1989 Cannes International Film Festival, where it screened during “Critics’ Week.” Wong gathered together Hong Kong’s most popular young stars (including Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung) for his next project, “Days of Being Wild” (1991). The film, set in a vividly imagined 1960, won five Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor (Leslie Cheung). The project was planned as the first of two-parts, but the second was never made.

In 1992, he convened another all-star cast of Hong Kong actors to make a period martial-arts drama, one which deliberately went against all the codes of the genre, in remote regions of China. The shoot for “Ashes of Time” lasted nearly two years. The film world-premiered at the 1994 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Award for Best Cinematography for Christopher Doyle. During a break in the post-production of “Ashes of Time,” Wong made “Chungking Express” (1994), an up-to-the-minute comedy of longing and romance. Tony Leung, Faye Wong and Brigitte Lin starred in the film, which became a cult hit in many countries. “Fallen Angels,” based on an idea for a sketch that was written for “Chungking Express” but dropped at the last minute, premiered at the 1995 Toronto Film Festival to widespread critical acclaim. The following year, he made a short film, entitled “wkw/tk/1996@7’55”ht.net.” “Happy Together,” about two Chinese gay men exiled in Argentina during the hand-over of Hong Kong to China, was filmed on location (with pick-up shots done in Taipei). The film world-premiered at the 1997 Cannes International Film Festival, where Wong was awarded the Best Director prize.

The film, which starred Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung, also featured Chang Chen, star of “The Hand.” “In the Mood for Love,” reuniting Wong with Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, was filmed in Hong Kong, Thailand, and at Angkor Wat (in Cambodia). At the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival, the film received awards for Best Actor (Tony Leung) and its three cinematographers. It also won prizes for Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography (Christopher Doyle and Pin Bing Lee) from the New York Film Critics Circle the following year. Wong next shot the short film, “The Follow,” starring Clive Owen and Mickey Rourke, for the BMW series “The Hire.”

The series also includes shorts by John Woo, Ang Lee, Tony Scott and Alejandro González I?árritu. He also directed a video for DJ Shadow called “Six Days,” which featured Chang Chen. Upcoming for Wong Kar Wai is his first science fiction film, “2046,” which was shot in various Asian countries with an international cast, including Gong Li, Chang Chen, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, and Faye Wong.

Wong Kar-wai
Wong Kar-wai at Toronto Film Festival in 2008

WONG KAR WAI Filmography


Poster for the movie "Eros"


A three-part anthology film about love and sexuality: a menage-a-trois between a couple and a young woman on the coast of Tuscany; an advertising executive under enormous pressure at work, who, during visits to his psychiatrist, is pulled to delve into the possible reasons why his stress seems to manifest itself in a recurring erotic dream; and a story of unrequited love about a beautiful, 1960s high-end call girl in an impossible affair with her … Read more

Poster for the movie "Ashes of Time"

Ashes of Time

The film is set in five parts, five seasons that are part of the Chinese almanac. The story takes place in the jianghu, the world of the martial arts. Ouyang Feng has lived in the western desert for some years. He left his home in White Camel Mountain when the woman he loved chose to marry his elder brother rather than him. Instead of seeking glory, he ends up as an agent. When people come … Read more

Poster for the movie "Days of Being Wild"

Days of Being Wild

The movie is set in Hong Kong and the Philippines in 1960. Yuddy, or ‘York’ in English, is a playboy in Hong Kong and is well-known for stealing girls’ hearts and breaking them. His first victim is Li Zhen who suffered emotional and mental depression as a result of Yuddy’s wayward attitude. Li Zhen eventually seeks much-needed solace from a sympathetic policeman named Tide.

Poster for the movie "Happy Together"

Happy Together

Lai and his boyfriend, Ho, arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong, seeking a better life. Their highly contentious relationship turns abusive and results in numerous break-ups and reconciliations. When Lai befriends another man, Chang, he sees the futility of continuing with the promiscuous Ho. Chang, however, is on his own personal journey and, ultimately, both Lai and Ho find themselves far from home and desperately lonely.

Poster for the movie "Fallen Angels"

Fallen Angels

A disillusioned killer embarks on his last hit but first he has to overcome his affections for his cool, detached partner. Thinking it’s dangerous and improper to become involved with a colleague, he sets out to find a surrogate for his affections. Against the sordid and surreal urban nightscape, he crosses path with a strange drifter looking for her mysterious ex-boyfriend and an amusing mute trying to get the world’s attention in his own unconventional … Read more

Poster for the movie "As Tears Go By"

As Tears Go By

Two parallel stories of Wah caught in the mist of a love affair with his beloved cousin, Ngor and his relationship with his triad brother, Fly, who seems to never fall out of trouble.

Poster for the movie "Chungking Express"

Chungking Express

Every day, Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) buys a can of pineapple with an expiration date of May 1, symbolizing the day he’ll get over his lost love. He’s also got his eye on a mysterious woman in a blond wig (Brigitte Lin), oblivious of the fact she’s a drug dealer. Cop 663 (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) is distraught with heartbreak over a breakup. But when his ex drops a spare set of his keys at … Read more

Poster for the movie "The Grandmaster"

The Grandmaster

Ip Man’s peaceful life in Foshan changes after Gong Yutian seeks an heir for his family in Southern China. Ip Man then meets Gong Er who challenges him for the sake of regaining her family’s honor. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man moves to Hong Kong and struggles to provide for his family. In the mean time, Gong Er chooses the path of vengeance after her father was killed by Ma San.

Poster for the movie "My Blueberry Nights"

My Blueberry Nights

Elizabeth (Jones) has just been through a particularly nasty breakup, and now she’s ready to leave her friends and memories behind as she chases her dreams across the country. In order to support herself on her journey, Elizabeth picks up a series of waitress jobs along the way. As Elizabeth crosses paths with a series of lost souls.

Poster for the movie "2046"


2046 is the sequel to Wong Kar-Wais’ successful box-office hit In The Mood For Love. A film about affairs, ending relationships, and a shared love for Kung-Fu novels as the main character, Chow, writes his own novel and reflects back on his favorite love Su.


In the mood for love

The story takes place in Hong Kong in 1962. Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung), a journalist, rents a room in an apartment of a building on the same day as Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), a secretary from a shipping company. They become next-door neighbours. Each has a spouse who works and often leaves them alone on overtime shifts. Despite the presence of a friendly Shanghainese landlady, Mrs. Suen, and bustling, mahjong-playing neighbours, Chow and Su often … Read more