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A brief history of Wong Kar-Wai’s enigmatic short films

A Wong Kar-Wai full-length feature is coming up real soon. While we wait for his new film “Blossoms” to come to fruition, he gave us a small treat through his latest release. “SELF 05: A Night in Shanghai” is a short film he curated for Saint Laurent. 

In this film, he aims to show different sides to Saint Laurent’s personality. This is a project between him and Hong-Kong photographer Wing Shya. It features Chinese model Ju Xiaowen as she walks on a wire, representing an attempt to balance life’s past and present.

Read more: Wong Kar-Wai’s new film is related to ‘In the Mood for Love’

It will be accessible to the public from Nov. 22 to 24. Until then, why don’t we take a look at this Chinese auteur’s short film collection? Check out his five shorts below:

Hua Yang De Nian Hua

” (2000)

In this short, he compiled a series of scenes tracing Hong Kong cinema’s past. It is made up of different scenes from the country’s iconic films. Through making this visual time capsule, he recognizes past films that gave birth to what Hong Kong cinema is today.

“There’s Only One Sun” (2007)

Following the same vein as his full-length sci-fi film “2046,” a super-spy named Agent 006 is tasked to catch the enigmatic Light. As she tries to capture him, she confronts her own feelings for him. He created this short as a long-form advert for Philips Aurea.

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“The Follow” (2001)

As part of the BMW “The Hire” film series back in 2001, he created a narrative about a nervous movie manager who hired ‘The Driver’ to follow his wife. This assignment goes south when he learns why the manager’s wife is trying to escape her partner. 

“I Travelled 9000 km to Give It to You” (2007)

He gives us a film within a film scenario through this 2007 short. It focuses on a couple watching a French New Wave film inside a cinema. During this brief snapshot of their time together, their affection towards one another starts from eating oranges together to having sex in public.

Read more: Get ready to see all of Wong Kar Wai’s films in 4K quality

“The Hand” (2004)

As part of the 2004 anthology film “Eros,” his segment is all about translating a handjob to a form of poetic cinema. It’s set in the 1960s where a high-end call girl Miss Hua is visited by Zhang, a shy dressmaker’s assistant. While they become more intimate, Zhang realizes he is drawn to her, but cannot act due to their class divide. It’s a short narrative exploring the themes of love and sex under 40 minutes of vivid imagery. 

Still from “SELF 05: A Night in Shanghai”

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Rogin Losa
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