My Blueberry Nights, Wong Kar-wai’s English-language debut, opens with a series of exterior shots of New York City, accompanied by swanky upright bass and the smooth adult-contemporary voice of Norah Jones. “I don’t know how to begin, ’cause the story has been told before,” she coos, as Wong cuts to extreme close-ups of blueberries and crumbling crust inundated with thick cream. Jones’s words are true: the stories in My Blueberry Nights have been told before, variations on them popping up in nearly every Wong Kar-wai film to date.
Another loose, largely improvised story about people falling in and out of love while dealing with rejection and perpetual states of longing, Blueberry is unmistakably Wong. This time around, the director’s finely honed taste for a charming face has led him to cast Norah Jones as Lizzie, the movie’s central character, around whom all others orbit. It’s not the first time he’s taken his chances on a chanteuse to carry a large role: Faye Wong, utterly irresistible in Chungking Express and 2046, remains better known today as a pop artist than as an actor in Hong Kong.
Click here to read Sarah Silver’s review of My Blueberry Nights.