I really have to stop those puns.
It was revealed today that the opening night film for this year's Cannes film festival will be Wong Kar-Wai's latest, My Blueberry Nights.
Before I go into any more depth, let's identify Wong for a second:
Wong Kar-Wai is one of my favourite, if not my absolute favourite, filmmakers working today. His films are consistently and reliably brilliant in a very original way. When you first watch one of his films, you think 'Gosh, that's stylish!' and you can just get caught up in the style and technique without even considering the plot (although they're very slight in his films). This is largely due to Christopher Doyle, his frequent collaborator and amazing cinematographer.
It's easy to think that the incredible atmosphere and mood conveyed in his films are enough to justify his status as a genius auteur, but you can tell, as one reviewer put it, that his films are so obviously about something. Wong explores themes of memory, time, identity, alienation, loneliness, love and sex - all the good stuff. Whether his ideas are universal or specific to his native Hong Kong, he always conveys them in a style that is at once accomplished and entirely unique. If you're new to him, I recommend Chungking Express, although In the Mood for Love is my personal favourite, simply because it's possibly the most watchable, seductive and atmospheric thing to ever grace a screen. Heck, even this blog site is named after one of his films.
All in all, I love Wong Kar-Wai. There we go.
Anyway, back to My Blueberry Nights.
This is how the film is being summarised:
"The Norah Jones road movie.
With Jude Law.
And Rachel Weisz."
That's right, like so many promising Chinese filmmakers, Wong Kar-Wai has gone all English language on us. And chosen to feature Norah Jones in her film debut. As I understand it, the plot goes something like 'Norah Jones goes on a road trip across America, looking for love and some blueberry pie.'
Yeah. The word WTF comes to mind.
Now, I'm not too well-versed on the acting talent of Hong Kong and China, but I'm pretty sure that they can't all be of the same excellent calibre as Tony Leung, Faye Wong, Leslie Cheung, Andy Lau or Maggie Cheung - all of whom Wong has worked with previously.
And now? Jude Law.
I'm not abandoning my hopes just yet - Jude Law was actually fairly good in I Heart Huckabee's, and maybe...Norah Jones...will...be good?
Okay, so I'm worried. Chris Doyle isn't even on board, for goodness' sake.
But let's have faith.
In other Chinese film news, Curse of the Golden Flower is not worth seeing. I seem to have a problem with period melodramas, unless they're American or Japanese. But Zhang Yimou just re-hashes exactly what he did with Hero and House of Flying Daggers, except with a different colour scheme and a more boring plot. The visual excess is oppressive, the plot ridiculous, and Chow Yun Fat is in it but doesn't kick any ass until the end.
Hopefully there are some good Chinese directors left.