Best films by Wong Kar-wai: the 5 to see

Let’s explore another great oriental director with our guides: today we offer you the ranking of the 5 best films by Wong Kar-wai

After discovering Kim Ki-duk’s best films and letting ourselves be enchanted by the poetry of his images, it is the turn of another giant of the oriental cinema. We have already met him during our appointments on In the mood for East, our column dedicated to the great Asian cinema. Wong Kar-wai is a Chinese director, screenwriter and producer based in Hong Kong. His journey behind the camera begins towards the end of the 1980s, and it doesn’t take long before Wong makes himself known internationally. His style is very personal, flanked by loyal cinematographer Christopher Doyle and its neon colors – the images you will find in the article explain in this sense. Recently he is the protagonist of our return to the hall, thanks to the restoration of one of his greatest masterpieces.

So let’s see together what are the five best films by Wong Kar-wai, the ones that you absolutely cannot miss.

Best Wong Kar-wai movies: our top 5

As we did during the last appointment with the South Korean Kim Ki-duk, we focus on the five best works of the Chinese filmmaker. If you want to start learning more about his filmography but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! Here you will find the ones we think of are his five best films. And if you already know Wong Kar-wai, take a look at our ranking anyway to find out what we think of him.

5 – Lost Angels (1995) | Best films by Wong Kar-wai

Best films by Wong Kar-wai: the 5 to see

Once again loneliness and incommunicability in Lost angels, yet another variation on the theme in Wong Kar-wai’s filmography. The “lost angels” of the title are none other than those melancholy and basically lonely souls that populate the nights of Hong Kong and the stories of a director “obsessed” with fleetingness of time and of our feelings. Let’s start our ranking with a double story. The first is the story of a boy (Leon Lai) she is a girl (Michelle Reis), partners in shady deals and in love. He would like to change his life, she is in love. In the second story, a boy who is dumb due to an expired pineapple box (Takeshi Kaneshiro), wanders aimlessly around the city on his motorbike. Meet Charlie (Charlie Yeung) and falls in love. Originating as an episode to add to the previous Hong Kong Express, Lost Angels eventually earned its place as a full-fledged feature film. The constant use of the wide angle almost deforms our gaze on these fragile existences, even more hopeless than the previous characters brought to the screen by Wong Kar-wai.

4 – Happy together (1997) | Best films by Wong Kar-wai

Best films by Wong Kar-wai: the 5 to see

With Happy together, awarded for best direction at the 50th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, we are no longer in the East. Wong Kar-wai decides for a moment to leave Hong Kong behind to move to Argentina, due to the changes that the metropolis would have experienced that same year. Po-wing (Leslie Cheung) and Yiu-fai (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), a couple of young lovers constantly in crisis, move to Buenos Aires in search of a future. Their discrepancies do not allow the two to live peacefully, so their respective paths diverge. Yiu-fai then knows Chang (Chang Chen), thanks to which he will find some of that long-lost serenity. But his heart and his head cannot forget the past so easily …

Change the setting, but that urban solitude that plagues all the protagonists of Wong Kar-wai remains. And also thelove, omnipresent theme in his cinema. Self-destructive love this time – but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a film about homosexuality, because the one staged by Wong Kar-wai is something universal. The music of Caetano Veloso, Astor Piazzolla and Frank Zappa merge, while the Happy together of the title, cover by the Turtles, stands out in the background. Wong Kar-wai alternates black and white and color, accelerations and moments of calm, anger and pain, closing a circle within his filmography.

3 – 2046 (2004) | Best films by Wong Kar-wai

Best films by Wong Kar-wai: the 5 to see

2046 it is perhaps the most peculiar work within the now thirty-year career of Wong Kar-wai. Temporalmente arises as a sequel to the events of Days of being wild and In the mood for love, adding to it some science fiction elements – an absolute novelty for the filmmaker. 2046 is the story of Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), a writer in crisis who has lost the great love of his life. At the same time as trying to finish a science fiction novel that tells the love story between two androids, he meets Bai Ling (Faye Wong). But in his mind, in his memories, in the places he does nothing but search for Su Li-Zhen (Gong Li), his lost love. 2046 is many things: melancholy, sensuality, memory, regret, life, a room, a book, an era. At its release it made many turn up their noses – also complicit in the production problems that led him to Cannes with a non-definitive editing. But in its imperfection, 2046 could only be what Wong Kar-wai proposes to us: a poignant, visceral, melancholy tale of absence and desire.

2 – Hong Kong Express (1994) | Best films by Wong Kar-wai

Best films by Wong Kar-wai: the 5 to see

The breaking point for Wong Kar-wai comes with Hong Kong Express, the film with which he inaugurates his very personal cinematic style. Here too, as in Lost Angels, we find two different stories, which barely cross each other. In the first, He Zhiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is a young cop who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. The fleeting encounter with a mysterious woman (Brigitte Lin) will give him the hope to continue believing in love. In the second, Faye (Faye Wong) works in a fast food restaurant and dreams of California. Falls in love with a policeman (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), but he’s not ready to fall in love again yet. Maybe one day they will meet again. With one style similar to that of a video clip, Wong Kar-wai amazes the public and makes himself known internationally with a Hong Kong fresco as full of life and frenetic as it is full of incommunicability and melancholy.

1 – In the mood for love (2000) | Best films by Wong Kar-wai

Best films by Wong Kar-wai: the 5 to see

Here is the masterpiece we mentioned at the beginning of our article. In the mood for love take first place in our ranking hands down. Wong Kar-wai’s love movie, framed by the splendid music by Michael Galasso, Shigeru Umebayashi and Nat King Cole. Hong Kong, 1960s: Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai, again he) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) move to two adjacent apartments at the same time. The two are married, but soon begin to suspect that their spouses are having an underground affair. In a hotel room they will start working together and falling in love with each other, but their dream of love can never come true. Wong Kar-wai talks about love and feelings without ever showing them to us the way we are used to seeing them, on screens and in life. This is why In the mood for love is so powerful: its silences, the looks, say more than a thousand words. Unless they’re the ones whispered and buried in the crevice of a tree.

Good vision!

There is so much to say about Wong Kar-wai’s cinema, but not before seeing his wonderful films for the umpteenth time. What do you think about it? Do you agree with our ranking? Let us know in the comments, and keep following ours guides on cinema and TV series with a click on this page!