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The World of Wong Kar Wai
Institute of Contemporary Arts
From 7 July 2021

In the Mood for Love, dir. Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong 2000, 99 min., Cantonese and Shanghainese with English subtitles, PG

The ICA, in partnership with Janus Films and the BFI, presents The World of Wong Kar Wai – a retrospective of the Hong Kongese director. Broadly characterised by his warm and sensual aesthetics, bold soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the most defined auteurs of contemporary cinema. This retrospective of his work includes seven new 4K restorations overseen by Wong Kar Wai in person. Whether tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the films presented as part of this retrospective are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist, whose work reminds us of the beauty inherent to all situations, including the most desperate ones.

After the premiere of Ashes of Time Redux in 2008, some audience members observed that the film looked different from what they had remembered. I realized that some of our audience had discovered it on pirated copies and in suboptimal[ck] exhibition venues that presented the film in a different light. Still, some preferred the versions that they had watched, because memories are hard to beat. As the saying goes: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Since the beginning of this process, these words have reminded me to treat these restorations as an opportunity to present new works, from a different vantage point in my career. Having arrived at the end of this process, these words still hold true. I invite the audience to join me in starting afresh, as these are not the same films, and we are no longer the same audience. 

Details of credits for the new 4K restorations can be found on each film’s page, and a director’s statement on the restorations is also available.
In partnership with Janus Films and the BFI.                          


As Tears Go By
Wong Kar Wai’s scintillating debut feature is a kinetic, hypercool crime thriller graced with flashes of the impressionistic, daydream visual style.

Days of Being Wild
Wong Kar Wai’s breakthrough feature represents the first full flowering of his swooning signature style.

Fallen Angels
Lost souls reach out for human connection amid a glimmering Hong Kong in Wong Kar Wai’s hallucinatory, neon-soaked nocturne.

Ashes of Time Redux in 35mm
Wong Kar Wai reinvigorated the wuxia martial arts genre with this beautifully shot epic. 

Happy Together
Wong Kar Wai’s emotionally raw, lushly stylized portrait of a relationship in breakdown casts Hong Kong superstars Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung as a couple traveling through Argentina.

In the Mood for Love
At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments.

My Blueberry Nights in 35mm
Wong Kar Wai makes his English-language debut with this dreamlike road movie.

Wong Kar Wai’s loose sequel to In the Mood for Love combines that film’s languorous air of romantic longing with a dizzying time-hopping structure and avant-sci-fi twist.

A hypnotic tale of obsession, repression, and class divisions, the film is presented in this retrospective for the first time in its extended cut.

The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is the film that made Wong Kar Wai an instant icon.