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Thunderdome: 'Chungking Express' vs. 'In the Mood for Love'

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What would be more painful than having to choose between the two greatest films from one of China's greatest auteurs? Perhaps a little background concerning the two films in question might be necessary to preamble this suggestion: Wong Kar-wai's 'Chungking Express' is by and large a watershed film of the 1990's and it established WKW as a seminal voice in World Cinema, and Sight & Sound listed 'In The Mood for Love' as the 24th Greatest Film ever made during their 2012 industry poll (making 'In the Mood for Love' the highest ranked film since 1980 and the sixth highest from a living director)- 'Chungking Express' is a much looser and much more ethereal tone poem about missed connections, breathed to life by effortless cool and canned pineapple, whereas 'In the Mood for Love' is an emotionally savage and heartbreaking car crash of a love story that unmoors the RomCom tropes that act as it's place setting. Both are sumptuous examples of the woefully underrepresented genre, Romance, and both are deserving of Canonization and being immortalized by The Canon Eternal... So let's pit these two colossal films of Asian Cinema against one another and see who gets Canonized!


Right off the bat, I'd just like to suggest that The Canon continue to branch out into World Cinema, and I personally believe in the large and inclusive Canon that doesn't cowtail to downloads or hits as a metric for determining which movies get brought forward for consideration. I know that sounds like a not-so-subtle dig at Devin's oft-stated reasoning that usually goes into a planning an episode and choosing a film... and to some degree I suppose it is... But at this point in The Canon, I have to believe that the show has garnered enough cache with our fellow listeners to warrant breaking into Chinese or Japanese cinema, we've discussed and represented the South Korean New Wave with Park Chan-wook's 'Oldboy', but perhaps it's time to consider widening that representation to include filmmaking all across Asia? Wong Kar-wai is perhaps one of the greatest filmmakers in the world alive today, period. His work in these two films alone apotheosizes the breadth of his entire career and represents the very best that he's capable of, and in my unwarranted opinion, no Canon can be considered representative of the greatest films in film history without at least having a discussion of Wong Kar-wai at some point.


If anyone has a better WKW suggestion, I'd love to hear it?! 'Days of Being Wild' and the Chinese cut for 'The Grandmaster both seem like really good contenders for Canonization as well, though I still stand by original suggestions!

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