Ashes of Time

Wong Kar-wai

IFFR 1996

  • 97'
  • Hong Kong
  • 1994
In 2003, Leslie Cheung, 46 years old, committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong. The actor had worked since his breakthrough in John Woo's A Better Tomorrow (1986) with many great Chinese directors such as Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark and Wong Kar-wai. As an homage to one of the most elegant and sensitive actors from the rich film history of Hong Kong, the festival is screening Ashes of Time from 1994. Leslie Cheung was not the only star to take part in this martial arts spectacle (à la Wong), in view of the names of Doyle (camera), Hung (martial arts choreographer) and both Tony Leungs on the credits. The story is set around an inn in the desert run by Ouyang (Cheung), once the best horse thief in the world. But since he lost his lover to his brother, he is bitter and cynical. He observes the world around him and sees the often sad life stories of his guests, looking for love and lovers. As in all the films by Wong, the tone is melancholy or even pessimistic -hence also the fact that Cheung fitted in so well. But the flair, the precision and the beauty with which Wong films make our renewed acquaintance with Ashes of Time an overwhelming emotional experience.
Wong Kar-wai
Country of production
Hong Kong
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 1996
Original title
Dung che sai duk
Scholar Films Co. Ltd, Jettone Films Limited, Cai Songlin
Wong Kar-wai
Christopher Doyle
Patrick Tam