Tony Leung Chiu-Wai

13 Mar

Cantonese actor Tony Leung Chiu-Way is really awesome. I mean, he’s just great. Whether he is moping around his apartment in Chungking Express, flipping through the air in Hero, or playing an undercover cop in Hard Boiled he has an amazing presence on screen. If you’re not familiar with his work, you should be, because he has starred in some of Asia’s best film offerings for over two decades.
And now, Melbourne Cinematheque is showing two of his films.

First up is acclaimed Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Flowers of Shanghai (1998) wherein Leung plays Wang, a regular visitor to a flower house, the Shanghai term for brothel. Set in the 1880s and taking place across four flower houses the film follows several relationships between the girls kept at the brothel and the men who use them. As well as this, Hou explores issues of gender and class, whilst also drawing attention to the relationships that go beyond what is considered socially acceptable, all through impeccable images presented to the viewer.

In Wong Kar-Wei’s 2046 (2004) Leung reprises his role as Chow Mo-wan, the character which one him the Best Actor award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for In The Mood For Love. Chow is a writer who places memories of his past life in the future of 2046 whilst in the present he recounts the comings and goings of those who share the hotel he is staying in. Shot in Wong’s distinctive style, and containing his usual preoccupation with time, memory, and repetition, 2046 also stars Maggie Cheung, Faye Wong and Ziyi Zhang.

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