FMP: Christopher Doyle / Wong Kar Wai

As a form of slightly more in depth research I have decided to make a few posts concerning the key artists who have influenced this project. I have decided first to look at this artist:

Image result for christopher doyle

Christopher Doyle is an Australian born cinematographer. He lives in Hong Kong and is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese. This has led to his work, and great success within the Hong Kong film industry. In particular he has worked with the much heralded director Wong Kar Wai on such landmark films as Chungking Express (1994) and In the Mood for Love (2000).

I have been really influenced on this project by the light in much of Doyle’s early cinematography. He created a very modern aesthetic via the use of strip lights and artificial light, particularly in Chungking Express. 

Image result for chungking express

Image result for chungking express

The results are spectacular. In In the Mood for Love this aesthetic took on a grander quality as it was used in the service of a 1960s set period piece.

Image result for in the mood for love

I am also very interested in Doyle’s use of space. In the interview below Doyle talks about how he would find spaces that matched the overall tone of the film, and then use those as the basis of a scene. A street in Bangkok becomes part of the overall idea of loneliness in In the Mood for Love. This fascination with architecture in cinema is a hallmark of some of the best filmmakers of the 20th century.

When filming underground I was also particularly preoccupied with the harsh white strip lighting; the beautiful visual quality of it, and also the tendency of it to change the space, making it sometimes more sinister, casting strange shadows and illuminating the faces of strangers in a bizarre clinical way.

Wong Kar Wai, Doyle’s collaborator, is also an influence. In an interview from the late 1990s, Wong spoke about how the film Chungking Express isn’t really about any of the characters; the main character is the city of Hong Kong itself, and the relationship between it and the people living there. It seems clear why the two filmmakers worked so well together.

Image result for in the mood for love stills


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