王家衛 Wong Kar Wai (ICD Pt.3)
“In my logic, there is a storyline.” – Wong Kar Wai
Renowned for his atmospheric films about memory, longing, and the passage of time, this Hong Kong director has an unusual approach to film making – starting production without a script.
Wong’s exciting approach to production creates intriguing storylines that allow visual and audio elements to thrive. Stemming from his dislike of writing and finding the act of filming from a finished script “boring”, Wong heavily relies on instinct and improvisation instead of pre-prepared ideas to bring his films to life. During production, he was writing by “drawing inspiration from the music, the setting, working conditions, and actors.”
Wong’s visual style, often described as beautiful and unique, is key to his work. Stephen Schneider has defined this as a “masterful use of light and colour [rendering] every frame a work of art.” Wong uses bold, saturated colours and swooning camera work alongside step-printing. The latter technique alters film rates, liquifying hard blocks of primary colours into iridescent streaks of light. The use of off-centre framing, slow motion, obscuring of faces, elliptical editing and filming in the dark or rain are all features of Wong’s aesthetic. With all the visual techniques combined, Stephen Teo has described Wong’s films as “a cornucopia overflowing with multiple stories, strands of expression, meanings and identities: a kaleidoscope of colours and identities.”
Wong’s use of pop songs and music are another trademark of his. The director places great importance on this element, which Biancorosso has described as the “essence” of Wong’s films. Julian Stringer has stated that music has been "proved crucial to the emotional and cognitive appeal" of Wong's films.