AFI Silver Theatre salutes ‘The World of Wong Kar-Wai’

WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes 'The World of Wong Kar-Wai' (Part 1)

In recent years, we’ve seen Ang Lee win the Best Director Oscar for “Life of Pi,” Bong Joon-ho win Best Picture for “Parasite” and Chloe Zhao become the front-runner this year for “Nomadland.”

Paving the way for all of them was Hong Kong native Wong Kar-Wai, perhaps the best Asian filmmaker since Akira Kurosawa (“Rashomon”), Yasujirô Ozu (“Tokyo Story”) and Kenji Mizoguchi (“Ugetsu”).

Joining 1990s contemporaries such as Yimou Zhang (“Raise the Red Lantern”) and Kaige Chen (“Farewell My Concubine”), Kar-Wai quickly became an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino.

This month, the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland presents “The World of Wong Kar-Wai,” a virtual series streaming throughout this weekend and beyond (no end date is set yet).

The series previously screened at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, showcasing Janus Films’ brand new 4K restorations produced from the original 35-millimeter negatives.

Access to individual films costs $12, or you can get a full series pass for $70.

Check out the lineup, listed chronologically below with their IMDB loglines:

“As Tears Go By” (1988)

Mid-level gangster Wah falls in love with his beautiful cousin, but must also continue to protect his volatile partner-in-crime and friend, Fly.

“Days of Being Wild” (1990)

A man tries to find out who his real mother is after the woman who raised him tells him the truth.

“Chungking Express” (1994)

Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure; the other, with an ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents.

“Ashes of Time” (1994)

A broken-hearted hitman moves to the desert, where he finds skilled swordsmen to carry out his contract killings.

“Fallen Angels” (1995)

This Hong Kong-set crime drama follows the lives of a hitman hoping to get out of the business and his elusive female partner.

“Happy Together” (1997)

A couple take a trip to Argentina, but both men find their lives drifting in opposite directions.

“In the Mood for Love” (2000)

Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities by their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

“The Hand” (2004)

A 1960s high-end call girl is visited by a shy dressmaker’s assistant in this extended cut directed by Wong Kar-wai as part of the “Eros” trio of short films alongside Steven Soderbergh and Michelangelo Antonioni.

“2046” (2004)

Several women enter a sci-fi author’s life over the course of a few years, after the author has lost the woman he considers his one true love.

WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes 'The World of Wong Kar-Wai' (Part 2)
Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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