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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Don't fear the future.

Time:Asia had a nice interview with Wong Kar Wai. A few snippets:
TIME: You started off your career as a screenwriter. Is it odd for someone who began their career as a writer to seemingly turn away from scripts altogether?

Wong: I worked as a writer for almost 10 years, and I realized the purpose of the script is as a prescription to make everyone seem to know what they're doing. And the role of the writer is like a psychiatrist to the director. During the productions, the director has a lot of queries. sometimes he has second thought on this idea and he want to make sure this line is perfect. And he needs a psychiatrist to tell him that what he's doing is right. And in my case, I'm my own psychiatrist, which kind of just makes things even worse.

TIME: Is 2046 a continuation of In the Mood for Love?

Wong: A lot of people think that 2046 is like a sequel of In the Mood, but I don't think so. For me it's more like Mood is a chapter in 2046. It's like 2046 is a big symphony, and Mood is one of its movements.

TIME: Do you consider your films romantic?

Wong: For me, romanticism means you follow your heart more than your mind. If that's the case, the films are 75% romantic. The other 25% is the realities, the problem solving, and luck. I cannot describe in detail in the films which moment is like that [the nonromantic proportion], but overall it's 25%.

TIME: What about you? Are you romantic?

Wong: [Laughing] I'm 60% romantic.

TIME: For a filmmaker whose work is so consumed with desire and its frustration, you seem remarkably hands-off about actually showing sex. Why is that?

Wong: I think to describe a so-called love scene, or intercourse is very boring. There must be a point to your focus. Like in Eros, it's always about this person's perspective. It's about the hand, instead of the actual act.

TIME: I heard that your cinematographer, Christopher Doyle, once claimed that all of your films were about the impossibility of love. Do you agree?

Wong: No, I don't think so, because if you have it [love] in your memory, it's already possible to me. He [Doyle] thinks that because he's very physical. [Laughs]

TIME: Can you give an example from the making of 2046?

Wong: We're shooting in a small hotel, everything is very narrow, tight, and I decided to shoot in Cinemascope, which created a huge problem for the lighting and camera man because they don't have a stage or anything to put their light. So Chris has to create something on his feet, and for him, this is the first time he has used this format. Actually he's quite lost, and he has to find a new way to deal with this problem. Of course he complains, and we have mistakes and problems, but this is the way, the challenge, otherwise it will be the same thing. Everyone will sleep, it will be very boring. Especially if it takes five years to make a film.

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