One of the most romantic gangster movies hits theaters and it will blow your mind…

On June 29, the distributor The Jokers releases As Tears Go By, Wong Kar Wai’s first film. Focus on this founding work of the world of the famous director.

Wong Kar Waia legendary Chinese filmmaker, rose to international fame after the triumph ofIn The Mood For LoveCésar for best foreign film in 2001.

The 65-year-old filmmaker is now very rare; his last movie, The Grandmasteralready dates from 2013. However, it is expected soon on the small screen with the project Blossoms Shanghai.

In the meantime, the distributor The Jokers had the good idea to do a little homecoming by bringing out the first two films of the Chinese master: As Tears Go By (1989) and Our wild years (1990).

These two nuggets of Asian cinema benefit from a sublime 4K restoration. As a reminder, As Tears Go By introduces us to a small gangster from Hong-Kong, Wah, camped by Andy Lau. The latter is divided between his usual job, collecting debts, and the need to protect his sidekick, Fly (Jacky Cheung), problematic driving.

He keeps borrowing money that he can never repay. But this life, already quite disrupted, is turned upside down when Wah has to take in her pretty cousin, Ngor (Maggie Cheung), who lives far from the city, on Lantau Island.

Wah then begins an exhausting back and forth between his budding love for Ngor, mirage of a peaceful life, and his loyalty to his gang “brother”, Fly, repeatedly beaten up by another gangster’s henchmen. , Tony. Wah will have to choose his destiny.

Director of regret and impossible love, Wong Kar Wai already establishes his universe in this first feature film, imposing a style that will follow him throughout his career.

MEAN STREET INFLUENCE

As Tears Go By is heavily influenced by MeanStreets of Martin Scorsesewith whom he shares many points in common.

Released in 1973, this founding feature film of the New York director’s work also tells the story of a friendship between a lonely little gangster and his sidekick, an uncontrollable mad dog.

At the center of these stories, this duo of criminals, one of whom (Charlie/Harvey KeitelWah/Andy Lau) obeys his boss, while the second (Johnny Boy/Robert de NiroFly/Jacky Cheung) is free-wheeling, giving way to his violent impulses, respecting nothing of the customs of the local underworld.

The wiser of the two small strikes has given himself a mission: to protect this turbulent “brother” until the sacrifice. At Scorsese, Harvey Keitel acts above all in the name of a spiritual and religious impulse.

On the other hand, at Wong Kar Wai, Wah protects Fly like a big brother protects his little brother. The other aspect that connects As Tears Go By to Mean Streets is Wah’s relationship with his cousin Ngor, reminiscent of Charlie’s relationship with Teresa.

The latter suffers from epilepsy while in As Tears Go By, Ngor visits Wah to consult a doctor for a lung problem. Initially, the reunion is rather dry; little by little, they will end up falling in love.

Impossible love, bordering on tragedy, will obviously be one of the major themes of Wong Kar Wai’s cinema thereafter. All his obsessions are therefore already present in As Tears Go By, all suffused with a dark and melancholic poetry.

However, is the film under the undeniable influence of Mean Streets? “I only borrowed the character played by Robert de Niro”said Wong Kar Wai years later. “But I think the Italians have a lot in common with the Chinese: their values, the sense of friendship, their mafia, their pasta, their mother”he specified.

Selected for Critics’ Week at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, the film enjoyed great international success. He also launched the career of a filmmaker who later became a key figure in auteur cinema.

As a reminder, Our wild years also comes out on June 29. Released in 1990, it is also interpreted by Maggie Cheung and Jacky Cheung, who had already collaborated with Wong Kar Wai on As Tears Go By.

The feature film introduces us to Yuddy, played by Leslie Cheung, tragically died in 2003 at the age of 46. The latter collects conquests and quickly can’t take any more of these young women who, barely seduced, are already imagining life together, marriage, monogamy. Not his thing.

Exit Su, too blue flower, here he is now dating Leung, a little more liberated – she dances in nightclubs. Suddenly, Su is waiting downstairs from her former lover’s apartment, inconsolable, when the local policeman who is doing his rounds in Hong Kong in the 1960s appears, ready to help her.

Our Wild Years trailer

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