The Cinema of Wong Kar-Wai: Setting The Mood Through Music

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Wong Kar-Wai is and always has been one of my favorite filmmakers of all-time. His striking imagery, masterful camerawork that perfectly captures his own version of Hong Kong in his films is undeniably what sets him apart from other filmmakers. He is an auteur of salient and striking cinema and has greatly influenced me as a film-maker myself. This article is set to at least introduce you to one of Wong Kar-Wai’s cinematic strengths—The use of music in his film.

 

 

This core style of Wong Kar-wai consists of a few common elements whose presence is akin to his signature on each frame. These common elements are both visual and thematic and include rich colours, memorable music that echoes in each frame and the usage of chance encounters to explore relationships and feelings in his characters.

 

In The Mood For Music

 

Like Tarantino, Wong Kar-Wai is a master curator on picking the music for his films. From old-classical songs like Billie Holiday from “Chungking Express

 

 

For those of you who are unknown to this movie, this scene is Cop 663 (played by Tommy Leung) trying to remember his moments whit his now ex-girlfriend, a flight attendant.

 

This scene portrays an endearing yet, melancholic feel in which Billie Holiday’s “What a difference a Day Makes” plays in the background that perfectly compliments the overall tone of the whole scene.

 

To a more eastern hiphop soundtrack in “Fallen Angels” that tells two intertwined stories of three “Angels” (lost souls) in Hong Kong.

 

 

Wong never fell short in using these techniques for the span of his career and he got pretty good at it.

 

Wong Kar-Wai: An Autuer

 In Wong Kar-wai’s films, the music and songs don’t exist in isolation.
 Instead, the music is married to the visuals in such a way that one associates the memory of the film with a particular piece of music.

 

With the aid of all of these elements music, visuals, characters these common elements are both visual and thematic and include rich colours, memorable music that echoes in each frame and the usage of chance encounters to explore relationships and feelings of the characters. Wong Kar-wai manages to ensure that each distinct element works in perfect harmony with other elements such that all elements enhance the overall film experience.

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