Wong Kar Wai: A Profile of an Auteur

Words by Naomi Jefferys

As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, Fallen Angels, Chungking Express…

These are just some of the critically acclaimed films of renowned director Wong Kar Wai, but what I want to know is, what makes Wong Kar Wai an Auteur?

Auteur: A filmmaker, usually a director, who exercises creative control over his or her works and has a strong personal style.

Wong Kar Wai is a Hong Kong Second Wave director, he has a strong visual style, and the characters in his films are often damaged, often missing an important moment in life. Furthermore, his characters often cross paths, creating a complex plethora of storylines within his films. Quite often his protagonists are individuals living busy urban lives.

What is more, Wong Kar Wai frequently re-casts his actors; such as Tony Leung, the protagonist in Chungking Express.

However, it appears that Wong Kar Wai is departing from the ‘indie’ genre, his upcoming release The Grandmasters is an action film based on the life story of Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man. So, will this film be more ‘mainstream’? A big budget blockbuster? Or will Wong Kar Wai remain true to his previous films?

We can only wait…

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Director Focus: Joe Wright an up and coming British Director

Words by Naomi Jefferys

David Lean, Noel Coward, Carol Read, Alfred Hithcock, Laurence Olivier, Mike Newell, Danny Boyle

A new director will soon be amongst this esteemed list of British directors, Joe Wright, possibly best known for his adaptation of Pride and Prejudice which was released in September of 2005. Pride and Prejudice was Wright’s debut feature film and was critically claimed and enabled him to make a name for himself.

Joe Wright had humble beginnings in his quest to breaking in to the Film Industry. Having suffered from dyslexia from a young age, he subsequently left school without any GCSEs. However, Wright was always interested in the Arts and took classes at the Anna Scher Theatre School. Next he spent a foundation year at Camberwell College of Arts; he then studied fine art and film at Central St Martins.

Clearly Wright has had humble beginnings, and has always had creative flair and energy throughout his schooling life. He began his career in television and slowly made his way up to his debut film Pride and Prejudice. This film starred Keira Knightley, Tom Hollander, Matthew McFadyen, Penelope Wilton and a very young Carey Mulligan.

In many ways, Joe Wright could be considered an Auteur; he frequently re-casts and re-uses actors in his films. For example, Keira Knightley starred in both Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, Knightley could be considered Wright’s muse. He has said in the past: “It’s like being asked why you love your wife, and it’s rather bland to say she’s talented and beautiful and bold, because it’s such a subjective thing,” Both Atonement and Pride and Prejudice achieved phenomenal critical success and cemented Wright’s standing amongst British directors.

However, like all good directors, Wright has had hits and misses. Noel Coward, who directed the British classic, Brief Encounter which received phenomenal success and is still cherished by the British public today. However, Coward’s The Astonished Heart received largely negative reviews and was not a box office hit. So evidently, even the best directors get it wrong sometimes.

The Soloist which was released in 2009 and received mixed reviews some critics stating Wright’s “uneven directing” and a lack of “narrative focus”. However, Wright is a young director and even the best directors don’t receive the correct response for a film which they’ve worked so hard on. But, that is the film business; it’s all about the timing!


What is evident about Joe Wright is that he is a hard-working director and he doesn’t let failure influence his future work. His most recent film, Hanna an action thriller received largely positive reviews and showed that Wright could stretch his creative vision to a fast paced, action filled film.

Joe Wright is a director of high standing and has demonstrated that he can pull the audience’s heart strings in films such as Atonement and Pride and Prejudice which subsequently won the British public’s respect. Wright has also shown that he can apply his talents to fast paced action films. His next film, Anna Karenina is screen adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel of the same name and stars Keira Knightley and Tom Hollander.

So Mr Wright have what you got in store for us now?

Note from the Editor

 

With what I am sure was a very eventful Freshers’ week for most of us I can imagine there are a few stories going around. It is the way these stories are told which directly affects the impact on the attentive audience. Who is telling the story? How are they telling it? What points do they choose to focus on? And why are they regaling you with events past? The combination of the answers to these questions can make a tale happy, sad, funny, or just plain old bitchy. They can be from a comical occurrence to a purely malicious attack. Stories are what we make them and display to us a reflection of the person telling them. We give story tellers an air of authority as we let them enlighten us, and depending who it is, trust, that they are unbiased in their views and only relay the true account of events. Though this is how we expect things to be, it is usually not the case. Lies and exaggerations are part of the story telling process, yet we often tend to forget this. They make things more exciting, funny, or cringe worthy and can even totally change your perception on someone or something if delivered in the perfect manner. Story telling as we already know is an art form, and for the Film section this week my focus will be on some of the best story tellers in the form of directors.

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