In the Mood for Love, dir. Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong 2000, 99 min., Cantonese and Shanghainese with English subtitles, PG
The ICA, in partnership with Janus Films and the BFI, presents The World of Wong Kar Wai – a retrospective of the Hong Kongese director. Broadly characterised by his warm and sensual aesthetics, bold soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the most defined auteurs of contemporary cinema. This retrospective of his work includes seven new 4K restorations overseen by Wong Kar Wai in person. Whether tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the films presented as part of this retrospective are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist, whose work reminds us of the beauty inherent to all situations, including the most desperate ones.
After the premiere of Ashes of Time Redux in 2008, some audience members observed that the film looked different from what they had remembered. I realized that some of our audience had discovered it on pirated copies and in suboptimal[ck] exhibition venues that presented the film in a different light. Still, some preferred the versions that they had watched, because memories are hard to beat. As the saying goes: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Since the beginning of this process, these words have reminded me to treat these restorations as an opportunity to present new works, from a different vantage point in my career. Having arrived at the end of this process, these words still hold true. I invite the audience to join me in starting afresh, as these are not the same films, and we are no longer the same audience.
Details of credits for the new 4K restorations can be found on each film’s page, and a director’s statement on the restorations is also available.