Wong Kar-wai: Time, Memory, Identity

  • Hai Leong Toh


IN HIS BRILLIANT TRIAD FILM DEBUT As Tears Go By, the Hong Kong's maverick filmmaker Wong Kar-wai(1) seeks to challenge popular audience expectations of the genre. A story about male bonding in which two friends are hired by the triads to carry out a murder, the film was selected by the informed programmer of the 13th Hong Kong International Film Festival (1989) to represent new Hong Kong films of the 1990s. The choice was prophetic in highlighting the thirty-one-year-old director as a new and exciting film talent. The following five years have seen Wong achieve an eclectic oeuvre of films which departs from the tidal wave of fast-paced Hong Kong films packed with sex and violence. In As Tears Go By, Wong Kar-wai takes the courageous position of showing more interest in the existential motivations and feelings of the film's two protagonists (Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung)...