Faye in ‘2046’ – Magical Beauty

This video, comprised of scenes of Faye Wong (王菲) in Wong Kar-wai’s (王家卫) 2004 classic, 2046, was uploaded to YouTube by danus74 on 14 April 2010. The film was written and directed by WKW. In these scenes, Faye plays the role of an android pursued by Tak Kimura (木村 拓哉).

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CKE Tops NY Times ‘Holiday DVDs’ List

Chungking Express, starring Faye Wong (王菲), Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉),
Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武), and Brigitte Lin (林青霞 Lin Qingxia), tops the New York Times “Holiday DVDs” list, published 31 Oct 2008. The article, written by Charles Taylor and Stephanie Zacharek, features a full-blown photo of Faye in one of the scenes (see below) from the classic Wong Kar-wai [王家卫] film.

Excerpts from the article: “Chungking Express didn’t kick off a new era of filmmaking as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless did with the French Nouvelle Vague in 1960. But this Wong Kar-wai romantic bauble from 1994 is as joyously playful — stylish, discursive, flippantly romantic — as any movie since Breathless.”

“The pop star Faye Wong . . . with her big eyes and shag haircut has the aura of a hip pixie . . . [and] contributes a Cantonese version of the Cranberries’ hit ‘Dreams.’”

“As with Godard at his most whimsical, Chungking Express invests pop artifacts with the power of talismans. The constant repetition of the Mamas and the Papas’ ‘California Dreamin’’ can persuade you — if you weren’t already — that it holds the secrets of the universe. Chungking Express is one of those rare classics that isn’t just admired but cherished.”

Rare Songs – Lau Fei Fei with Tony

Here’s a rare song and rare video — Faye Wong (王菲) and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉) in a live 1994 performance in a huge stadium singing “Lau Fei Fei” (流非飛, Flow Not Fly), released in Faye’s Sep 1993 album, Hundred Thousand Whys. It was at about the time Chungking Express was being released, and they were beginning to establish an onscreen chemistry that would play out in other films. In this performance, we can see that Faye is in her element. In CKE, Faye’s first serious film, she felt awkward and out of place, claiming that she could only be herself and didn’t know how to act. As it turns out, this is exactly what Wong Kar-Wai (王家卫), the award-winning director, was looking for. Faye went on to win awards for her performance, and CKE is considered one of the best films in the world. The audio below was ripped from the video.

(added to YouTube by whiteboardsandy 14 Aug 2008)

Faye Will Be at Carina’s Wedding on July 21

According to the latest reports (rumors?), Faye Wong (王菲) and Li Yapeng (李亚鹏) will be at Carina Lau (刘嘉玲, Liu Jia Ling) and Tony Leung’s (梁朝偉, Leung Chiu-Wai) wedding in Bhutan on July 21, Monday, at the luxurious Uma Paro hotel. They’ll be among 80 guests who will be flown there on two private jets from Bangkok, where the guests will gather. One of the jets belongs to Brigitte Lin (林青霞, Lin Qingxia), who costarred with Faye and Tony in the 1994 megaclassic Chungking Express. Wong Kar-wai (王家卫), director of the film and planner for the wedding, and Na Ying (那英), who is very close to Faye and Carina, will also be there.

Carina has asked the guests to bring alcoholic drinks with them in anticipation of a shortage in Bhutan. Carina and Tony are tying the knot after a 19-year courtship. The couple starred with Faye in the blockbuster 2004 Wong Kar-wai film 2046.

(Source: Li Xinran in ShanghaiDaily.com, 16 July 2008.)

Modern Love Story IV

“Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love” (愛情戀曲IV: 愛情3加1) is an episode in a 1994 TV romantic comedy series featuring various popular actors. This is the segment in which Faye Wong (王菲) appears. The plot is flimsy, the script is equally thin, and the production is obviously rushed. The producers were apparently trying to capitalize on Faye’s appeal. The look and feel of the entire film is from Faye’s April 1994 album, Mystery, especially the hit “I’m Willing” (我願意), which is included in the video (part 3 below). In fact, compare the scenes toward the end with the MV of Faye singing this song at the ocean’s edge. You can’t miss the similarities.

These stills were captured from YouTube videos [7.12.08: they are no longer available on YouTube] and they are the best parts of the entire show. The camera lingers on Faye, zooming in on her face and eyes. It’s obvious that filmmakers are beginning to realize how extraordinarily photogenic she is, and the close-ups provide the only really aesthetic moments in the film.

Click below to see the four videos [7.12.08: they are no longer available on YouTube] that make up the episode. The quality isn’t great, but it’s watchable. I’m not sure, but I believe this performance predates Chungking Express, which was shot later in the year. Faye’s appearance remains pretty much the same, but the quality of the production, script, directing, etc. makes a world of difference. I’m guessing that director Wong Kar-Wai (王家卫) must’ve seen something in this video that made him realize Faye would be perfect for the part opposite Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉).

[7.12.08: These videos are no longer available on YouTube]

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 1.

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 2.

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 3.

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 4.

Faye Wong’s Opening Scene in Chungking Express

I hesitate to write about Faye Wong’s (王菲) role in Wong Kar Wai’s (王家卫) 1994 masterpiece, Chungking Express, because, for many Westerners, this is the be all and end all of Faye’s acting career. Still, I think it’s worth discussing simply because it provides insight into Faye’s endless appeal. Compared to other actors, she stands out because she’s so utterly different. While everyone else is intent on acting, Faye is simply being, natural and therefore fascinating. Her presence is captivating because it’s so refreshing, like sunlight in comparison to fluorescent or incandescent.

ADDED 15 Feb 2010: Video below. When people ask me what’s so special about Faye, I think of this film, and especially this opening scene. This was my first introduction to Faye Wong, and I was hooked.

The still above is from the opening scene of the second of two stories in the film. (Click on it to see the video clip.) The first few minutes are the end of the first. In this scene, police officer 633, played by Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉), meets Faye for the first time. This scene of Faye behind the counter, gently rocking to The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” is my favorite in all the films I’ve ever seen. I never get tired of watching it. Her movements are so original that I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.

Wong Kar Wai understands this quality in Faye and, in his infinite wisdom, gives her free rein in interpreting her parts. Directors who don’t quite get it try to direct Faye, and the result is more often than not stiffness and self-consciousness, acting rather than being. They haven’t learned that when they have a natural, they should just let her do her own thing.

Enough talk. Watch the video and see for yourself.

BTW, Faye has acted in a number of films and TV series, and in future posts, I’ll be discussing them.