Given the grand production design, intoxicating visual beauty and the amount of trouble that besieged its making, Ashes of Time might very well be the movie that Hong Kong maestro Wong Kar-Wai might want to be remembered by. Though perhaps not his best work, vis-à-vis Chungking Express, Happy Together and In the Mood for Love, this epic martial arts movie is a visual feast and a brooding meditation on heartbreak, loneliness and the inescapable and treacherous nature of memory. It is as far removed from other HK movies typically belonging to this genre as perhaps Emir Kusturica’s Underground was from other war movies. In fact, the movie may be considered as a companion piece to the auteur’s 2046, structurally as well as thematically. Employing multiple voiceovers and a Byzantine narrative that has done away with the chronology of time, this is an expressionistic, surreal and deeply melancholic exploration of existentialism and unrequited love – arguably two of Wong Kar-Wai’s favourite motifs. Christopher Doyle’s mesmerizing cinematography (digitally rendered even more gorgeous in the Redux version) and the haunting soundtrack have added to the incredible beauty of this moody, lyrical and sensuous tale of lost souls. The movie comprises of the 'who’s who' of the Hong Kong film industry, including Leslie Cheung, both the Tony Leung’s, Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin and Carina Lau, among others.
Director: Wong Kar-Wai Genre: Drama/Romance/Adventure/Existentialist Drama/Martial Arts Movie/Epic Language: Cantonese Country: China (Hong Kong)