I often bore my readers by complaining about how bored I am by formula movies that recycle the same moronic elements. Now finally, here’s a movie not on autopilot. Watching Fallen Angels is like entering a world of its own for it can exist solely in the mind of Wong Kar Wai and no one else. Every once in a while you come across such movies, with the worlds they engender being like none other in memory, each of them staking out a completely new place and colonizing them with peerless imagination. Believe me, Fallen Angels is like nothing you have seen before.
While watching it, you will either resolutely resist it or absolutely give yourself over to it. Now which of these paths your emotions let you tread on, I haven’t the faintest of ideas. Yet there is one thing that I can say with utmost veracity and that is, that the enticing invitation that Kar Wai extends into this phantasmagoria that he concocts is enough to hold you spellbound till the credits roll.
The music, the camera, the lighting, the colors, all of which ran on different latitudes while I was watching Chungking Express, come on the same plane here and fabricate an orgasmic experience for the senses as well as the mind. The color pallet on play is so exuberant and blithe that, yes, I can only compare it to The Double Life of Veronique. And even in Kieslowski’s world, they could not cease being separate elements while in Kar Wai’s world, the lights do not subsist to accentuate the feel. They rather seem to emanate from within the characters themselves, from their moods, emotions, senses.
I can’t seem to remember any scene in recent cinema which such striking sensuality as the masturbation sequence with Michelle Reis. The music sets the mood, the lights fill the gaps and by the time (which seems like forever when the scene plays out) her hands reach between her legs, we are with her – writhing in pleasure in what seems to be a lust for life that Kar Wai arouses from within us, far more titillating than any ample skin show that the naive resort to.
I have watched Chungking Express and In The Mood For Love, yet watching Fallen Angels, it felt as if it was the first Kar Wai I was watching. I admired the aforementioned movies, and share with countless other lovers of cinema, a deep admiration for the innovative lighting, camera movement and editing they have, yet that admiration is all that those movies seemingly educed in me. On the other hand, watching Fallen Angels, I saw an artist, unable to conceal the very depth of his vision, standing completely naked before his audience. All the techniques and plethora of characters he bombards us with seems to be nothing but a farce to distract us, to ward us off from coming across that beating heart of his which he conceals in every passing frame. To watch Fallen Angels, was to understand who Wong Kar Wai was, as an artist and more importantly, as a human being. And to say what most of those who I have and will come across in my life will not have the misfortune to hear, I guess I like him.
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