Hong Kong, 1988, 102 min, Dir. Wong Kar Wai, Not Rated, Cantonese with English subtitles, Janus Films
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Wong Kar Wai’s scintillating debut feature is a kinetic, hyper-cool crime thriller graced with flashes of the impressionistic, daydream visual style for which he would become renowned. Set amidst Hong Kong’s ruthless, neon-lit gangland underworld, this operatic saga of ambition, honor, and revenge stars Andy Lau as a small-time mob enforcer who finds himself torn between a burgeoning romance with his ailing cousin (Maggie Cheung, in the first of her iconic collaborations with the director) and his loyalty to his loose cannon partner in crime (Jacky Cheung) whose reckless attempts to make a name for himself unleash a spiral of violence. Marrying the pulp pleasures of the gritty Hong Kong action drama with hints of the head-rush romanticism Wong would push to intoxicating heights throughout the 1990s, As Tears Go By was a box office smash that heralded the arrival of one of contemporary cinema’s most electrifying talents.
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35 mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema. Joined by key collaborators such as cinematographer Christopher Doyle, editor and production and costume designer William Chang, and actors Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, Wong (or WKW, as he is often known) has enraptured audiences and critics worldwide and inspired countless other filmmakers with his movies’ poetic moods, narrative and stylistic daring, and potent themes of alienation and memory. Whether tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the films in this retrospective are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist. Gables Cinema and Janus Films are proud to present the following Wong Kar Wai classics in brand-new 4K restorations, in addition to a new director’s cut of The Hand: As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, and In the Mood for Love.