Wong Kar Wai

Wong Kar Wai on Netflix

There are a number of Wong Kar Wai films streaming on Netflix right now. In addition to In the Mood for Love, next week's film, you can also view: Fallen Angels (1995), Happy Together (1997), As Tears Go By (1988), and Days of Being Wild (1990). Each of these films is covered in Brunette. I considered both Fallen Angels and Days of Being Wild for this course. All films are worthwhile, especially if you are intrigued by Wong Kar Wai's style of filmmaking.


Below are images from Chungking Express for use in the Film Analysis assignment. Choose two for analysis and focus on camera angle and staging position.

Remember, you only need to do a Film Analysis for two of the three films in this second group. Chungking Express is the first film in this group.

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Second Thematic Essay

Topic and direction:

  • Write a critical analysis of mise-en-scène (m-e-s) in the films of Wong Kar Wai based on course screenings, readings, and discussions.
  • As a way of explaining or illustrating your argument, your analysis should include a close reading of at least one of the frame grabs from each film in the group posted to the blog for the Film Analysis assignment. You may also use an image, or images, of your choosing.
  • Note that “critical” in this context means to be detailed in your analysis, not judgmental as to quality. Think about what is visually distinctive about Wong's films.
  • As you select elements or points for discussion, consider the contributions of other "authors" to the look and feel of the films. For example, the directors of photography or the production designers.

Additional guidelines and requirements:

  • As a formal academic paper, this essay should have a clear thesis, or central argument, to make. Sample prompts for this essay: “Mise-en-scène (m-e-s) in Wong Kar Wai's films is distinguished by …”, or, “In Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love and Ashes of Time, the filmmakers use mise-en-scène (m-e-s) in order to …”
  • Essays should cite and document sources following these guidelines.
  • Films should be cited as follows. The first reference should provide a complete title and a date of release in parentheses, e.g., Chungking Express (1994) (note that the film title is italicized). Subsequent references need only include the title. For films with longer titles, such as In the Mood for Love, subsequent references can use a truncated title, as in Mood for Love or Mood. Film titles do not need to be included in the list of cited works.
  • Initial reference to mise-en-scène should use the full term. For subsequent references, “m-e-s” is acceptable. You can follow this guideline for all specialized terms.
  • There is no page requirement or limit for this paper, but use four to eight (5-8) as a guide.
  • Essays should be double-spaced with reasonably-sized fonts and margins (readability should be your goal). Number your pages.
  • Be specific in referencing names of filmmakers, characters, places, etc. IMDB and Wikipedia are both good sources for basic information about films and film productions.
  • For guidance on writing academic essays, refer to the resources I have on this page, including the WOU Writing Center. You can also consult with me. For longer questions or to have me review drafts, come to office hours. Shorter questions can be handled electronically via e-mail or on IM or over the phone (503-838-8296). You can also ask for advice via the class blog.

Due date and submission:

  • If you choose to write on this essay (remember, you will write on two of the three essays with an opportunity to rewrite the first), schedule a due date with me individually that should fall between M 5/20 and F 5/31.
  • Note, if you did not write on the films of Terrence Malick, you will need to write on Wong Kar Wai for your first essay. If you did write on Malick, you may write on WKW for your second paper.
  • You should schedule your due date for this essay by the end of the day (11:59 pm) on W 5/15.
  • Submit your work electronically by the agreed upon date following these guidelines. For the assignment in the filename, use “WKW”.
  • You will have until the end of your due day (11:59 pm) to either submit your paper or arrange an extension for full credit.
  • The first essay you submit is worth fifteen (15) points. The second is worth twenty (20) points.