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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — In all of modern world cinema, few filmmakers carry the respect and influence of Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai. His films are beloved worldwide for their heightened, poetic emotion, and perhaps more than anything, for their striking cinematography and vivid, often saturated color.

With the holiday season now firmly upon us, Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s Sam Noble Theater will be presenting a weeks-long career-spanning retrospective of all 10 of Wong Kar-Wai’s feature-length films in a presentation entitled “Joy to the World (of Wong Kar-Wai)” from Friday, December 17th through Sunday, December 26th.

Music and Film

By Brett Fieldcamp

Sponsored by True Sky Credit Union

Though not directly or traditionally Christmas-themed, OKCMOA’s Head of Film Programming Lisa Broad feels that this collection of films is a perfect accompaniment to the holidays.

“While ‘Joy to the World (of Wong Kar-Wai)’ isn’t a traditional Christmas series, I think the sparkling, romantic sensibility, the vibrant color palette, and the thoughtful use of music in Wong’s films makes them a great fit for the holiday season,” Broad told me. “Whether they’re romantic comedies, period dramas, crime thrillers, or martial arts epics, each one of his films conjures up a warm, inviting, richly detailed world that makes them wonderful to escape into for a few hours.”

“In the Mood for Love” by Wong Kar-Wai in the OKCMOA series “Joy to the World (of Wong Kar-Wai)”

Each year, OKCMOA creates and offers a holiday series, often focusing on the work of a single filmmaker with a catalog of movies that can inspire the same senses of awe, wonder, and colorful contemplation that the winter season brings.

“OKCMOA’s holiday series is one of my favorite annual traditions as a film programmer,” Broad said. “It’s typically our longest, most extensive film series of the year, and has given us the chance to immerse ourselves in the work of some of our favorite filmmakers, like previous years’ subjects Hayao Miyazaki, Wes Anderson, and Richard Linklater.”

Though Broad expresses a boundless love for all cinema and a near-encyclopedic recall of films and filmmakers, it’s clear that she holds a special place in her heart for Wong’s works, and that she is especially excited to share them with OKC audiences.

“There’s something exhilarating about Wong’s heightened, deeply personal approach to filmmaking, from his signature romantic themes, to the playful way he mixes tones and genres, to the kinetic beauty of Christopher Doyle’s cinematography, that helps his work continue to resonate across generations,” she said.

“Once I saw that new, director-supervised 4K restorations of several of his films were available, I knew I wanted to bring them to Oklahoma City. This complete retrospective is a rare opportunity to see all of his features on the big screen, something that has been possible in only a few cities around the country.”

Still from The Grandmaster by Wong Kar-Wai to be shown in the OKCMOA series “Joy to the World (of Wong Kar-Wai)”

Those new 4K transfers are sure to be among the biggest selling points for cinema fans throughout the city. Wong’s films are already renowned for their lush and meticulously composed visuals, and these new prints are likely to be the highest quality in which they’ve ever been presented.

The 10 feature-length films (and one extended director’s cut of short “The Hand”) include Wong’s 1994 breakthrough “Chunking Express,” romantic masterpiece “In the Mood for Love,” and genre-straddling sci-fi love story “2046,” which is actually set on Christmas Eve.

Wong Kar-Wai director of films to be shown in the OKCMOA series “Joy to the World (of Wong Kar-Wai)”

Also included is “Ashes of Time Redux,” Wong’s personally re-edited and restored version of “Ashes of Time,” his challenging and experimental take on the martial arts “wuxia” genre, as well as “My Blueberry Nights,” his first-ever English language feature starring singer Norah Jones (who just dropped her own charming new Christmas album.)

Wong Kar-Wai hasn’t made a film since 2013’s “The Grandmaster,” but he is said to be hard at work on what is sure to be another feast for the senses and the heart, and you couldn’t ask for a better primer than this series to catch up on his past works before the world sees what he produces for us next.

The complete schedule of “Joy to the World (of Wong Kar-Wai)” at OKCMOA is as follows:

-“Chungking Express”: Friday, Dec. 17 – 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 26 – 12:30 p.m. 

-“Fallen Angels”: Friday, Dec. 17 – 8:00 p.m.

-“Days of Being Wild”: Saturday, Dec. 18 – 2:00 p.m. 

-“In the Mood for Love”: Saturday, Dec. 18 – 5:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 24 – 12:30 p.m. 

-“2046”: Saturday, Dec. 18 – 8:00 p.m. 

-“Ashes of Time Redux”: Sunday, Dec. 19 – 12:30 p.m. 

-“As Tears Go By”: Sunday, Dec. 19 – 3:00 p.m.

-“The Hand” & “My Blueberry Nights”: Thursday, Dec. 23 – 5:30 p.m.

-“Happy Together”: Thursday, Dec. 23 – 8:30 p.m. 

-“The Grandmaster”: Sunday, Dec. 26 – 3:00 p.m.

For tickets and information, visit okcmoa.com.

“Happy Together” by Wong Kar-Wai in the OKCMOA series “Joy to the World (of Wong Kar-Wai)”

Last Updated December 14, 2021, 7:27 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor