June 22, 1997 |
Leslie Cheung, the Hong Kong superstar and pop singer, has never been busier. He has a new film, Chen Kaige's exquisite "Temptress Moon." He is in the midst of a worldwide singing tour marking his return to the concert stage after a seven-year hiatus. And he is reaping building international acclaim for his remarkable acting talent, which spans classic screwball comedy to martial arts fantasies to the epic tragedy of Chen's 1993 "Farewell My Concubine."
January 7, 2005 |
The opening scenes of Wong Kar-Wai's 1991 "Days of Being Wild" feature the unnervingly handsome and conceited Yuddy, played by Leslie Cheung, as an insistent suitor to Su Lizhen, Maggie Cheung's apprehensive snack bar clerk. He gradually wears her down, warning that the moment she gives in -- 3 p.m., June 16, 1960, to be exact -- will forever be etched in their memories. It certainly will remain in ours.
January 31, 1993
I would agree with Dacy up to a point, that it's the star performances that make Hong Kong films popular. But who creates many of those star performances? Until he was cast in a John Woo film, Chow Yun-Fat's "undeniable personal charisma" didn't find much of an audience. Woo's ability to bring out the best in actors and to give them a previously unimaginable weight and depth has in the past revived the failing career of Ti Lung, made a serious actor of pop star Leslie Cheung and made Chow Yun-Fat a mega-star in Asia.
April 21, 1996 |
This is high-style vintage (1986) John Woo in which the celebrated writer-director has struck a perfect balance between emotion and violence. Its premise could well have been lifted from early Warner Bros.--one brother becomes a gangster, the other, a cop--and it also extols the virtue of loyalty between friends in the tradition of Howard Hawks. The film's success, however, rests on a well-developed plot and the three-dimensional characterizations.
October 22, 1993 |
"Farewell My Concubine" is a slow boat through China, and why shouldn't it be? An unhurried journey on the great tide of modern Chinese history, this gorgeous, intoxicating epic is confident enough of its visual and narrative power not to rush the telling. Old-fashioned in form but modern in psychological dynamic, it's a film that you can lose yourself in, that washes over you like a warm and enveloping mist.
April 5, 1996 |
Wong Kar-Wai's 1991 "Days of Being Wild" offers the flip side of his dazzling "Chung-king Express." Like the latter film, it is a romantic fable of the vicissitudes of love and the role fate plays in our lives, expressed with a bravura, go-for-broke style, but it is as dark and sober as "Chung-king" is bright and amusing. Imagine, if you will, a Hong Kong movie without so much as a single neon sign in view; it's a film seen in shadows.