Watching the new trailer for Wong Kar Wai’s much awaited film The Grandmasters immediately brings to mind Sam Mendes’s Road To Perdition, shot by the late Conrad L.Hall, one of my favourite DPs of all time. The almost monochromatic look of the fight scene in the rain serves a strikingly similar mood to the stand off between Sullivan and mob boss Conner near the end of the film. (see image below)
It’s interesting to note that Wong Kar Wai’s frequent collaborators, DP Christopher Doyle and Lee Ping-bin are not involved in the film, although his old friend William Chang Suk-Ping continues to oversee editing, production and costume design. His work is covered in the FilmCraft series of books on Production Design, which I will review soon – check out the book on Cinematography in the meantime.
Wong’s film will of course have to contend with Donnie Yen’s highly successful Ip Man films, and I’m hoping his cinematic genius will reward us with a film that elevates itself as more than just a martial arts piece; where the visual spectacles serve only to complement the narrative and not the other way around. For me, the last period film that did this exceedingly well was Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Absolutely loving the beautiful pose struck by Zhang Ziyi in the above shot. Check out the trailer for the film below.16