World of Wong Kar-Wai
Screening Dates
  • June 29 (Tuesday) 8:30
  • July 2 (Friday) 3:30
  • July 5 (Monday) 6:15

A hypnotically beautiful dream … One of the truly galvanizing cinematic experiences of the year.”

Manohla Dargis, New York Times

The life and times of martial arts legend Ip Man (whose most famous student, Bruce Lee, was the subject of a Cinematheque retrospective in 2020) is given the intoxicating Wong Kar-Wai treatment in this dreamy, wuxia-inflected biopic. Set over years of civil upheaval in China’s late Republican Era, the film stars ever-sauve Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as the fedora-clad Ip, a virtuoso of the wing chun style of kung fu and, in 1936, defender of the south in an historic feud between northern and southern martial arts practices. The arrival of a sage expert and his daughter (Ziyi Zhang) from the north sets Ip on a path to grandmastery, but the wages of the Second Sino-Japanese War loom. Wong, in his most linear and, perhaps, commercial outing to date, blends balletic fight choreography (by the great Yuen Woo-Ping) with signature musings on love, loyalty, and the unyielding march of time. This 108-minute version, the shortest of Wong’s four official cuts, was the North American theatrical release.

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