The names Wong Kar-Wai and Christopher Doyle, among cinephiles and filmmakers at least, are synonymous with sensuous visuals, moody drama and cinematic orgasm (also, for cinematographers reading this, slo-mo and step-motion!). Yet for GRANDMASTERS, Wong’s new martial arts film, his libertine cinematographer and regular collaborator Christopher Doyle is conspicuously absent.
In Doyle’s place is Phillipe Le Sourd, a Frenchman who has been quietly racking up industry repute with his evocative cinematography (A GOOD YEAR, SEVEN POUNDS). Le Sourd and Wong’s relationship began with the 2007 short film THERE’S ONLY ONE SUN, which has now fully matured with the highly anticipated GRANDMASTERS.
Yet this is not the first time that Christopher Doyle has been missing from the Wong party. On his last feature MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS, Wong Kar-Wai had employed another Frenchman and master cinematographer Darious Khondji to lens the New York romance starring a chubby Norah Jones and confused Jude Law. This film didn’t exactly set hearts racing, but the mood, the visual invention (and the rain) were all well and there. It also established a precedent—no Christopher Doyle.
According to some (you know who you are), Wong Kar-Wai just isn’t “Wong Kar-Wai” without Christopher Doyle. But you, yes, you, decide for yourself on December 18 when GRANDMASTERS starring Tony Leung finally hits theaters. Meanwhile, here’s the ravishing new trailer. How’s your Mandarin, by the way?
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Materials source: Various/ Photos: GRANDMASTERS production co.