I was first introduced to Wong Kar-Wai in a film class in college, where we were exploring Hong Kong film. I remember watching Chungking Express way too late at night, and was kept awake with a feeling similar to what Lost in Translation leaves me with, a sense of jet lag.
I found that this was a trend in Wong's films: long nights, neon lights, and the constant rumbling of a city (usually Hong Kong). He tries to show that even in a city as alive and loud as Hong Kong or New York City, there are people living lonely, slow existences. There are worlds within worlds within worlds, and they are often found in 24 hour delis and diners.
As I mentioned, this was my first experience with Wong Kar-Wai. It's a slower, and slightly more confusing storyline than I was used to, but that is what made it so hypnotizing. The film itself follows two love stories and takes place almost exclusively in late-night Hong Kong.
The soundtrack is incredible and you will undoubtably fall in love with the actress Faye Wong.
A story within a story, 2046 is again set in the crowded apartments and bars of Hong Kong but this time with a time-traveling twist. I was honestly incredibly confused by this film the first time I saw it, and had to read more than one plot summary to understand what I just saw. The chronology is not perfect, and many characters and time lines cross each other. The main character, Chow, is a writer who not only has multiple lovers we follow throughout the film, but also a fictional world he is building that involves a train that travels through time to help its passengers forget, or live forever in, their past.
My Blueberry Nights
This is Wong's first English film, but he still managed to keep the dark world of his previous films alive. My main takeaway from this film was, I loved the story, but hated all of the characters. It's a story of Elizabeth (Norah Jones) and her year-long journey across America to reinvent herself after a bad breakup. Somehow or another, she ends up falling for her confidant and shoulder to lean on, Jeremy (Jude Law). There are great cameos and interesting story lines, and plenty of blueberry pie.