Director Wong Kar-Wai tells a revealing anecdote in the Criterion Collection’s DVD release of In the Mood for Love. Gilles Jacob, then president of the Cannes Film Festival, invited Wong to premiere his as-yet unfinished movie at the 2000 festival. Wong accepted the invitation not so much for the prestige but because the festival provided a hard date by which the film must be completed. Otherwise, Wong says half-jokingly, he could have gone on filming forever. Those of us familiar with the shooting style of Wong Kar-Wai know just how serious that statement is. Without a written script of any kind, his shoots are more like improvisations during which the director and his actors come up with story and characters through trial and error.
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