While in New York for the premiere of Ashes of Time Redux, Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai and his long-time cinematographer, Christopher Doyle, sat down with Leonard Lopate for the radio host’s daily show. In the course of discussing the restored and re-edited theatrical release of their highly unorthodox 1994 martial-arts epic, the duo also reminisced about their other collaboration that year, Chungking Express (coming out in November in standard and Blu-ray Criterion editions), recounting how that very different, romantic-comic film was made quickly and cheaply while they were on hiatus in Hong Kong from shooting Ashes on the Western desert border of China. The spur-of-the-moment nature of Chungking’s production is perfectly illustrated by Doyle’s account of how they chose the setting for half of the film: his new apartment. “I just moved into the place,” he said, “and we thought, this is a great metaphor for the ideas of the film and the structure of Hong Kong society, the balance between West and East,” since the building was “exactly on the corner of the financial-entertainment district and the most traditional market area of Hong Kong.”
Lopate also interviewed British director Mike Leigh, about his new film Happy-Go-Lucky, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed character study described by Leigh as “anti-miserablist,” and remarkably different in tone from many of the filmmaker's earlier, darker works, such as Vera Drake and Naked. To those who are surprised by this shift, Leigh responds: “Every time I invite you for supper, I don’t want to serve you the same dish!”
Visit the Leonard Lopate Show online to hear both the Wong-Doyle and Leigh interviews.