Wong Kar-wai’s My Blueberry Nights relocates the auteur’s lyrical vision to the United States
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Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This week: The Last Stand, the first American film by gifted Korean director Kim Ji-woon (I Saw The Devil, A Tale Of Two Sisters), has us thinking about other films made by foreign directors working in America for the first time.
My Blueberry Nights (2007)
2007’s My Blueberry Nights was the American debut of Chungking Express and In The Mood For Love writer-director Wong Kar-wai, and the film wasn’t a flop so much as it was politely dismissed by critics and audiences alike. At the time of the film’s release, Wong was an undisputed master of international cinema, working in a new country in a new language with stars like Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman, David Strathairn, and musician Norah Jones, but the film was barely noticed for reasons both understandable and unfortunate.
My Blueberry Nights is a wisp of a movie, an elegant curl of smoke in cinematic form about the romantic yearnings of a group of gorgeous, moody dreamers, including an eccentric bartender (Law), a woman (Jones) devastated by her boyfriend’s cheating, and a heartbroken alcoholic cop, played by Strathairn, who is drinking himself into oblivion trying to forget his ex (Weisz). Wong’s transition to American filmmaking isn’t exactly seamless: The film sometimes borders on bleary self-parody in its gorgeously stylized take on heartbreak among the beautiful people, but it sustains a melancholy, elegiac mood despite its periodic missteps. Wong’s lovely entré into American film is aggressively minor, but that’s much of its well-proportioned charm.
Available: DVD only. No streaming or Blu-ray options yet.