The mirror... it's broken. I like it that way. Makes me look the way I feel (sabbaroo)
She comes every night to a small café in SoHo, looking for solace after a break-up. He runs the place and knows how to listen words and silences. Between them a blueberry pie that works wonders. He falls for her, she needs firstly to come to her own terms. So she leaves New York for a journey coast to coast, working as a waitress in different towns and knowing various people with their stories. In a pub in Memphis a long time botched couple, ending miserably. The survivor will have a ghost to carry. In a casino some place in Nevada an embittered gambler, hiding another ghost. Everybody seems to be there either a skeleton or a zombie, with a skeleton in charge.
One day she will return to the café in SoHo. Life can also be nice.
It's My Blueberry Nights
, made by Wong Kar-Wai
in 2007. She is Norah Jones
, at her first movie role. He is Jude Law
. The couple in Memphis is played by David Strathairn
and Rachel Weisz
. The Nevada gambler is Natalie Portman
. It is the first movie Wong Kar-Wai
made in America, with an American cast, also the first time he did not collaborate with Chris Doyle
. Here the Director of Photography was Darius Khondji
, the lonesome lens man who made Pollack, Allen, Fincher, Boyle, Polanski, and Bertolucci look so fine
Hate is baggage, life's too short to be pissed off all the time (insomniac_rod)
It's Wong Kar-Way
, so first thought goes to Chungking Express
: neon colors generously flooding the place, great dreamy shots bathed in music and making the universe look psychedelic (which it probably is, why not?), the small coffee shop where passed loves are cured and new loves look so promising, young sweet heroes whose lives are flooded with sweet crazy details (the café in SoHo carries a Russian name - КЛЮЧ - as a former flame in the life of the young man was a superb Russian, Katya; also КЛЮЧ
is the Russian for KEY
, which sends to the glass full of keys on the countertop - keys of passed loves waiting to be taken back or thrown away; the postcards sent every day by the young girl from every town on her journey, without giving any clue about her actual address). English spoken with all kind of accents (Mancunian, Muscovite, Tennessean, to name just a few), whirled together. And above all the blueberry pie.
Don't forget that the young heroine is a waitress in both My Blueberry Nights
and Chungking Express
. And don't forget the cop in both movies.
So it calls in mind Chungking Express
, which is a masterpiece. The problem is that nobody cannot create the same masterpiece twice, not even Wong Kar-Wai
. Understandably many reviewers were slightly disappointed, some even very critical.
It is true that you find here the same cinematic language as in Chungking Express
, only we should observe that a movie is not only about cinematic language.Chungking Express
has a formidable sense of immediacy, it's a spontaneous flow: slices of life not ordered by some logic, evolving on their own with no predictability. The two stories in the movie end with no resolution; just a moment in life chosen by random.
Here in My Blueberry Night
the evolution is predictable. We are following a story with a start and an end and we are waiting the heroine to come back one day to New York and to commence her new love.
And the first feeling is that's not Wong Kar-Wai
. Said one reviewer, it's Wong Kar-Wai lite
At the end of the day, this is Wong Kar Wai to the bones: every frame is an exquisite color scheme, dreamy languid music (or at times complete silence) and all the rest of it (harry_tk_yung)Imho
these critics miss an important point: Wong Kar-Wai
created not only Chungking Express
; In the Mood for Love
is another great movie and it is quite different.
Actually I would think now at another work of Wong Kar-Wai
, the segment he created for the movie Eros
: the segment is named The Hand
and it's a small gem. It's a poignant description of a tragic destiny, a description flooded with an intoxicating erotic desire, told with a minimalism that's simply exquisite.
What seems to me is that there are two roads in the work of Wong Kar-Wai
(let's say the one in Chungking Express
and the other in In the Mood for Love
- or in The Hand
) and here in My Blueberry Nights
he wants to put them together. If the whole sends us to Chungking Express
, the two episodes in Memphis and Nevada send directly to the poignancy of In the Mood for Love
and The Hand
. Someone observed once that some movies of Almodovar
could be viewed as a cathedral and its chapels (well, the observations continued that the cathedral was Kitsch and its chapels Gothic). Here in My Blueberry Nights
the romance of the two sympathetic lead characters is the cathedral hosting the two episodes. I would say, the romance is Wong Kar-Wai-lite
because it's just a pretext: the Gothic stays in the episodes.
Each of the two episodes, in Memphis and Nevada, is amazing: each one has the essentiality of a morality tale. It's the tragedy of the couple: the love has disappeared you don't know when, you hate the other, you hate yourself, you cannot escape. You carry the ghost of the other whatever you try, wherever you go, regardless the other is alive or dead. You are a ghost.
And David Strathairn, as well as Rachel Weisz, as well as Natalia Portman, play amazingly.
Paris (ou SoHo?) est tout petit pour ce qui s'aiment d'un aussi grand amour (mpsgs710)
And here is a documentary about the making of the movie (the four consecutive videos were published on youTube by Golden Dragon Pictures; as embedding was disabled I have indicated the link for each of the four parts; I inserted also some comments found on the web
).The film was shot on location at the Palacinka Cafe in SoHo in New York City, the South Main Arts District in Memphis, and Caliente, Ely, and Las Vegas in Nevada.Palacinka Cafe, 28 Grand Street and Thompson Street, Manhattan - the cafe has since closed after losing their lease and been taken over by a Beauty Salon.This is obligatory viewing for romantics, with a touch of cynical realism; and it's a pity that one's own local café proprietor is not as caring and gorgeous as Jeremy. Jeremy has the typical personality that most male characters have in Wong Kar Wai's movies, that is, stubbornly persistent, sentimental, sensitive, observant, empathetic (but self-absorbed sometimes)…as well as reticent (personally speaking, Jeremy is even more lovable because he enjoys eating desserts)
.David Strathairn reminds me of Garry Cooper: the same profile.
A bit too Tennessee Williams for my taste.I'm not sure whether that night really happened, or if it was just another dream.Nice movie, like a slow song in a shady café.(Wong Kar-Way & Chris Doyle)
Labels: Wong Kar Wai