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NY Times | The Master of Time: Wong Kar-wai in America

NY Times | The Master of Time: Wong Kar-wai in America

On SoHo film set last August, Jude Law and Norah Jones were getting intimate. Repeatedly intimate. To be precise, they had kissed upwards of 150 times in the past three days. The occasion for this outbreak of passion was “My Blueberry Nights,” the first English-language film by Wong Kar-wai, the maverick Hong Kong director turned avatar of cosmopolitan cool. This particular night was stifling as the crew spilled out of Palacinka, a small cafe on Grand Street that was the principal New York location, preparing for yet another take of the scene known as “the Kiss.” The shot lasted less than a minute, but the number of permutations that Mr. Wong and his cinematographer, Darius Khondji, devised–15 set-ups, by the count of the script supervisor–suggested it would play a central role in the finished film. The Kiss was being shot at different film speeds and from a multitude of angles: a wide shot, his point of view, hers, through windows, with objects in the foreground. “I’ve never worked with someone who’s put so much emphasis on a single moment,” Mr. Law said between takes one night. “It’s extraordinary how he’ll take a moment and replay it and slice it up.” Dennis Lim reports.
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