Thursday, March 6, 2008

Movie Mondays #1: A Review of Wong Kar Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" by Rickious

I was first introduced to Wong Kar Wai's films by Prof. Roland Tolentino back in my college days when I was studying film at the University of the Philippines. Since that first glimpse at the long Steadicam shot in "Days of Being Wild", my friend Lino Cayetano and I would consume everything by Wong Kar Wai from "As Tears Go By" and "Chungking Express" to "Fallen Angels" and "2046".

More than the music, the colors, the lights, the offbeat locations, the quirky production design, and the characters in his films, it's Wong Kar Wai's themes of longing and meditations on loss that keep one asking for more. One can sum up his films with this lyric from Depeche Mode's "Goodnight Lovers".

"When you're born a lover, you're born to suffer..."

I thought there was a chance that my man Wong Kar Wai would falter in his foray into Hollywood with "My Blueberry Nights". Surely his sensibilities would be trampled to the ground by this behemoth's paws as it scrambled to appease The Almighty Opening Weekend. What chance would this melancholy auteur have against the combined mammoth egos of Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, and Natalie Portman, right? They would eat him alive like so much stir-fried noodles.

Boy, was I wrong on both counts.

The actors were soft dough in his hands. I thought it might be a mistake to pit Norah Jones against the perpetually disarming Jude Law and the always understated acting stalwart David Strathairn but after seeing the film, I was reminded of equally inexperienced pop star Faye Wong and how you couldn't take your eyes off her in "Chungking Express". They say that one should blame the director if an actor looks bad onscreen. It's safe to say that this is not going to happen under the watchful eye of the master.

With "My Blueberry Nights", Wong Kar Wai's distinct visual and storytelling style remain intact and iron-clad. The central themes in all Wong Kar Wai films of pining for long-lost paramours and lingering memories of loved ones are served a la mode on this delectable masterpiece.

In the wake of so much disappointment, Wong Kar Wai never lets me down. Why did I ever doubt you, maestro?

Check out the trailer here...

"My Blueberry Nights", I LOVED IT!

Do yourself a favor and watch it and all of Wong Kar Wai's films now.

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