Global Music/Local Cinema: Two Wong Kar-wai Pop Compilations

Edited by Kam Louie

in Hong Kong Culture

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028412
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206960 | DOI:
Global Music/Local Cinema: Two Wong Kar-wai Pop Compilations

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This chapter examines how the Wong Kar-wai's use of pre-existing songs has undergone drastic changes under the strictures of a new working environment. It does this through a close reading of the pop compilations of Fallen Angels and Wong's first English-language production, My Blueberry Nights. Both films, despite their somewhat marginal standing in the Wong Kar-wai canon, are paradigmatic in that they rely heavily on pre-existing songs, and on popular idioms more generally. They provide perhaps the best demonstration yet that, despite endlessly looping mantras on Wong as a “visual artist”, predictably voiced again on the occasion of the recent release of My Blueberry Nights, songs are of the essence in Wong's cinema. In particular, in both films, songs impart to the sequences in which they appear the quality of “musical numbers”—that is, modular, detachable segments of representation that while propelling the action forward can be contemplated as self-contained entities.

Keywords: Wong Kar-wai; songs; films; Fallen Angels; My Blueberry Nights; popular idioms; musical numbers

Chapter.  6588 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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