As Tears Go By
Though as gritty as any 80s Hong Kong gangster picture, AS TEARS GO BY is a watershed film heralding one of the most auspicious directorial debuts in international cinema. Wong Kar-Wai's visually stunning, tough and romantic 1988 first feature deftly smuggles the director's now celebrated genius into an incendiary "Heroic Bloodshed" street opera of the John Woo mold. Already stretched to breaking in a loyalty tug of war between Triad bosses and his loose cannon partner, Wah (Andy Lau, FULLTIME KILLER, DAYS OF BEING WILD), a rising star in the HK underworld, finds himself saddled with beautiful, ailing country cousin Ngor. As an escalating test of wills with a stubborn debtor explodes into bloodshed and a mob turncoat instigates a ruthless police crackdown, Wah's growing fascination with Ngor becomes his last chance for escape from a violent past and a dubious future. Balancing epiphanous imagery with experimentation and realism with brazen romanticism, Wong Kar-Wai's AS TEARS GO BY offers a tantalizing glimpse into the nascent brilliance of one of the most influential filmmaking talents of the last twenty years.