AS TEARS GO BY
Hong Kong, 1988, 104 minutes, Colour
Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jackie Cheung, Alex Man.
Directed by Wong Kar Wai.
This is the first film directed by celebrated writer-director Wong Kar Wai. He had written a number of screenplays but moved into direction and made significant films during the 1990s including his next film, Days of Being Wild, Chunking Express, Happy Forever. He achieved a great reputation in 2000 with In the Mood for Love and was represented at many festivals, including Cannes.
The film was an early opportunity for successful actors, Andy Lau and Maggie Cheung.
The background is the criminal world of Hong Kong, the mean streets, so to speak, of the city. Andy Lau portrays Wah, a gangster from his early years, but having to protect his young protégé, Fly, Jackie Cheung, who is forever getting into trouble.
The complication arrives in the form of his cousin, Maggie Cheung, coming to the city for health reasons, boarding with him, and the two gradually falling in love. This makes demands on Wah, his realising he does not have ambitions to rise in the Triad hierarchy, experiences brutality and violence, but opts in favour of a relationship with his cousin.
1. The work of the director? His first film as director?
2. The Hong Kong focus, its atmosphere? Apartments, streets, the world of the Triads, violence? The musical score?
3. The crime background, for Wah and his life, his early life and conditioning? His relationship with Fly, protecting him? The arrival of Ngor? Her health, moving in, the effect on him? The background of crime action? His experiences of brutality, yet his falling in love, not having Triad ambitions, changing?
4. Ngor, her background, arriving, health, the mask, staying inside, preserved? With Wah, going out, the risks, the change?
5. Fly, his being young, forever in trouble, Wah bailing him out, the need for protection?
6. The theme of being someone, big shots? Cultural background?
7. The villains, brutality?
8. The director and introducing of his colour photography, camera angles, stylistic flourishes?