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AT THE TRIPLEX: The style and substance of Wong Kar-wai

Bold color schemes. Non-linear editing. A pop-song-studded soundtrack.

When a director goes all in on pushing stylistic choices to the forefront of their movies, it is easy for the substance (i.e., the story) to become an afterthought. That is what makes Wong Kar-wai so special: He is one of the rare auteurs who can spin his style into substance.

“In the Mood for Love,” 2000. Photo courtesy of Janus Films.

Wong’s movies are often bittersweet romances that depict the hazy highs of love alongside the bracing lows of its loss. “In the Mood for Love” follows two jilted spouses who are haunted by the specter of a relationship that almost was, while “2046,” its loose sequel, shows how the fallout of that missed opportunity continues to impact people far into the future.

“Chungking Express,” which plays at the Triplex Monday night as a Boondocks Film Society special event, is an anthology film that features two stories: one where a fleeting love takes hold as two people are thrown together under mysterious circumstances, the other a tale of how a relationship can blossom when two people aren’t even in the same physical space.

“Chungking Express,” 1994. Photo courtesy of Janus Films.

All of these movies carry Wong’s trademark visual style—a result of his collaboration with cinematographer Christopher O’Doyle—and a writing and directing style that allows his characters to embrace moments of silence. This is where Wong works his magic: The richness of his composition fills in the gaps where we might typically expect dialogue to express a character’s thoughts and feelings.

Wong’s style could be seen as bells and whistles in the hands of a lesser director. But he uses this lens to create an atmosphere that envelopes the audience. His style brings emotion to the forefront, using heightened aesthetics to express feelings words can’t. His movies might feel slight on story, but they are heavy on substance.

Now Playing

“Io Capitano”
An Oscar-nominated tale of an immigrant’s journey.

From director Matteo Garrone (“Gomorrah”), “Io Capitano” is an immigration parable that mixes together touches of fantasy with a bracing reality. The story of two Senegalese cousins making their way across the Sahara and Mediterranean in the hopes of finding a new life in Italy, “Io Capitano” celebrates the human stories that often get lost in the headlines.

“Io Capitano,” 2024. Photo courtesy of Cohen Media.

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
A modern claymation classic plays for free this Saturday!

Our free family series continues with another modern claymation classic. From Laika, the studio behind “Coraline” and “The Boxtrolls,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” is a magical adventure through feudal Japan that is a beautiful tribute to family and the enduring power of memory. This series is sponsored in part by the Alford/Egremont, Sheffield, and Stockbridge Cultural Councils, local agencies that are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

“Kubo and the Two Strings,” 2016. Photo courtesy of Park Circus.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire”
Who ya gonna call?

Director Jason Reitman continues the story his father Ivan started 40 years ago in the original “Ghostbusters” in “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.” Moving the action back to where it all started, “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” finds the original Ghostbusters teaming up with a new generation of paranormal adventurers to ward off a chilling attack on New York City.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” 2024. Photo courtesy of Sony.

“Dune: Part Two”
Final week!

Director Denis Villeneuve continues his epic saga of House Atreides and the Fremen in “Dune: Part Two.” Boasting an all-star cast featuring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and many more, “Dune: Part Two” is already the biggest movie of 2024 and needs to be seen on the big screen.

“Dune: Part Two,” 2024. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Coming Soon

“Origin”

From director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) comes a powerful story of a woman investigating the root of society’s ills while dealing with tremendous personal loss. Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (“King Richard”) stars as author Isabel Wilkerson who dives into the history of what divides us while writing her book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent.”

“Origin,” 2023. Photo courtesy of Neon.

“The Triplets of Belleville”

Our free family series concludes on March 30 with a (nearly) dialogue-free visual feast. Playing from a brand new digital restoration, “The Triplets of Belleville” is just as wondrous and charming as it was when it first came to the Triplex 20 years ago. Rated PG-13, we recommend this title for kids 10 and up.

This series is sponsored in part by the Alford/Egremont, Monterey, Sheffield, and Stockbridge Cultural Councils, local agencies that are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

“The Triplets of Belleville,” 2003. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

“Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire”

Let. Them. Fight. The next chapter in Legendary’s modern take on the kaiju genre comes to the Triplex next week. Grab some popcorn and sit back as Godzilla and Kong team up to take on a dangerous new enemy.

“Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire,” 2024. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

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