Wong Kar-wai has been relatively quiet since his last feature film, The Grandmaster, was released in 2013. But the renowned Hong Kong director has been ramping things up recently, preparing a new TV series, producing the Thai Sundance film One for the Road, and shooting a Lunar New Year commercial for Mercedes Benz. Or “curating” a commercial, as the text claims onscreen, though the short film has all the hallmarks of a Wong film. Watch short below.
Wong Kar-wai Short for Mercedes Benz
Created for Mercedes Benz China in conjunction with the Lunar New Year, which takes place this Friday, the 6-minute short is “curated” by Wong Kar-wai, according to on-screen text, though Ogilvy Asia claims the In the Mood for Love filmmaker actually directed it.
And the film positively screams Wong Kar-wai: it has warm, soft colors illuminating the rain-drenched Hong Kong streets at night, shallow focus, subtle slow-motion effects, a man crying alone in a bar. But the short is unquestionably an ad for Mercedes Benz, which kind of takes you out of it — the moody pace giving way to a lot of fast cuts and zooms, the classical piano giving way to a cheesy pop song.
It seems like it’s becoming a trend for well-regarded filmmakers to shoot a short film for the Lunar New Year celebration, with The Farewell filmmaker Lulu Wang recently directing a Lunar New Year-themed short for Apple. But I’m glad to see high-profile directors drawing attention to a holiday that’s mostly overlooked in the States through visually striking shorts such as these.
Wong is preparing to make his television debut with Blossoms Shanghai, a TV drama project that originally began as a feature film, based on the short stories by Jin Yucheng. Wong began developing the project — then called Blossoms — way back in 2015, and had intended it to become his follow-up to The Grandmaster. In the end, this short, which may or may not be actually directed by Wong, is the unofficial follow-up, though we can be sure to see Wong behind the camera for Blossoms Shanghai.
The filmmaker has also been busy in other areas, debuting his restored and re-edited masterpieces via Criterion and Janus, and producing Nattawut Poonpiriya‘s Sundance dramedy One for the Road.
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