Wong Kar-wai‘s historical martial arts epic “The Grandmaster” comes ever closer to the U.S., having already been released in most of the rest of the world, and reviewed by our correspondent in Berlin. But if you’d like to refresh your memory about the stunning Hong Kong films that first made him an arthouse star, here’s a nice little segment from the BBC show “Moving Pictures” in the mid-90s about the relationship between the filmmaker and the city, when Kar-wai had just released the mesmeric “Chungking Express” just as Hong Kong was about to be handed back to Chinese control.
It’s a nicely freewheeling look into the director’s favorite spots in Hong Kong’s ultra-dense, ultra-diverse urban fabric, many of which feature with little or no fictionalization in “Chungking Express”: it also features the intriguing Australian-born cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who works almost exclusively in China and whose career was long entwined with Wong’s.
Wong is also bracingly honest in the piece, noting at one point that he doesn’t think he could make a film about a place he doesn’t know well: something many people thought he proved with 2007’s “My Blueberry Nights,” his first Hollywood picture and probably his least-liked. Whether the 1930s Shanghai of “The Grandmaster” will work better remains to be seen. But we’ll always have Hong Kong. Watch below.