Comparisons between Moonlight and Wong Kar Wai films show striking similarities

Comparisons between Moonlight and Wong Kar Wai films show striking similarities
PHOTO: YouTube screengrab / Alessio Marinacci

Since walking away with the prestigious Best Picture award at this year's Oscars, it has become widely known that Moonlight is an independent film that was made on a tiny budget. It did not make much money at the box office, and does not boast any big name stars.

But a lesser known fact is that the film also takes inspiration from Asian cinema, specifically the films of celebrated Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai.

A YouTube video by user Alessio Marinacci draws attention to the visual and stylistic similarities between Moonlight and some of Wong's films, including Days of Being Wild, Happy Together and In The Mood For Love.

The video juxtaposes scenes from Moonlight and Wong's films by showing them side by side, highlighting the parallels in terms of the actions and gestures of the actors in the films, the colour composition, camera angles and the framing of certain scenes.

Photo: YouTube / Alessio Marinacci
Photo: YouTube / Alessio Marinacci
Photo: YouTube / Alessio Marinacci
Photo: YouTube / Alessio Marinacci

The video was posted on YouTube on Jan 28, and has been viewed over 72,000 times.

However, perhaps the similarities are not so surprising, as Moonlight director Barry Jenkins had previously expressed his admiration for Wong's movies.

In an interview with video distributor The Criterion Collection, Mr Jenkins admitted to being "sucked in" when he first watched Wong's classic Chungking Express.

"I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese, never been outside of the state of Florida, and I'm watching this film and I'm feeling all these things. And then stylistically it was made in a way that was different than any film that I'd ever seen before," he said.

Other than Best Picture, 'Moonlight' won two other awards on Oscar night. Actor Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film, while its writers won the Best Adapted Screenplay award.

But the film was also at the centre of the now-infamous mix-up at the end of the evening, when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced that La La Land had won Best Picture.

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Meanwhile, Wong's In The Mood For Love was recognised as the second best film of the 21st century by BBC Culture, following a survey of 177 film critics from around the world last year.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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