Are You Ready for the Wong Kar Wai Challenge?

Photo via Wallpaper

It’s a challenge that would test the mettle of even the most dedicated cinephile: In one hundred words or less, summarize the plot of Ashes of Time Redux.

One lucky winner will receive the new Ashes poster, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics plus a copy of Criterion’s new Chungking Express DVD, courtesy of Criterion.

Submit your answer by posting in the comments below by midnight E.S.T., Wednesday December 3rd (just in time for the holiday season!). But be warned: Don’t get caught stealing already published blurbs. Wong Kar Wai himself will judge which entry is best (based on originality, concision, and style), and he’s already read all the stuff that’s out there. He’s looking for a truly upstanding scribe. Are you worthy?

Special thanks to this contest’s sponsor, Criterion:

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14 Comments on “Are You Ready for the Wong Kar Wai Challenge?”


  1. Chris!! Don’t you know that synopsizing Ashes is impossible!!! ;-)

  2. WRONG Kar-Wai Says:

    Okay, here goes nothing…

    A psychobabe escapes from her giant birdcage—and boy is she pissed. In a fit of controlled rage she hires a psycho-ninja-esque assassin to kill the (ex) boyfiend of her sister who has managed to spur and shame them both (ie both sisters) by falling in love with, of course, another psychobabe. This has tremendous repercussions on the giant birdcage. It spins in its own subtle yet cosmic form of controlled rage, a microfury that affects the alignment of the four seasons. Everyone sets off to the desert for a picnic.

  3. Chris Chang, Film Comment Says:

    Who was it that said there are no Wrong answers?

  4. Maryan Says:

    A hired swordsman in a lonely desert ruminates on the passions driving the people passing through his beautiful barren land… A brother and sister struggle as two halves of one broken person. Another chooses a shattered memory over pain of lost love. A third loses part of his hand but finds the simple companionship of his wife. A woman seeking revenge gains nothing from stubbornness. A man loses his sight and his life, but gives what he has. Finally, the swordsman is left with his memories which, although bitter, are tempered by wisdom gained from witnessing these lives passing by.

  5. the Captain Says:

    Choices.

  6. Michael Adams Says:

    Ouyang Feng is an agent for hired killers living a self-imposed exile after the woman he loves spurns him to marry his brother. Huang Yaoshi promises Murong Yang that he will marry the man’s sister, Murong Yin, only to abandon her. Murong Yang wants Ouyang to have Huang killed, while Murong Yin wants her brother killed to protect Huang. A young peasant woman who can pay only in eggs wants revenge against the bandits who killed her brother. The Blind Swordsman, pining for his lost love, and Hong Qi take up her cause. The story circles back to its beginning.

  7. Ian Coleman Says:

    Ouyang Feng , a go-between for assassins lives in isolation in the desert, bitter after being rejected by his lover. He drownx his pain in cynicism and impersonal methods of pleasure and forgetfulness (the wines offered by Huang Yaoshi). Murong Yin/Yang, a woman with dual personas he encounters, reflects his fractured nature. Afterwards, his interactions with his hired killers all throughout the seasons bring to light the human forces that drive them.. Ouyang Feng realizes the static state of his existence, learning nothing as time passes. Finally, he is able to confront his fractured heart and move toward fulfillment.

  8. Lisa Says:

    Life becomes symbolic from a distance; when love and loss carry your throes and dictate your future. Ouyang Feng oppressed by his own memory, which he comes to believe is the pitfall of man, leads him to the psychological elixir created by the very woman who denied him of his relentless passions. The power women possess over men and their personal enraptures, threatens the root of man’s pride and existence. The warriors and lovers crossing paths amid the desert allows Ouyyang Feng to observe the failings of his own life, leading him back to the reasons which he did forbade himself from having what each man truly desires. Using glory to burying pain and desire, will not abolish the human need for love.

  9. Adam D. Says:

    A college student (Leslie Cheung) waits in Madison, WI waiting for the new film by his favorite director to play in his city. He builds a hut outside Westgate Art, hoping the cineplex that shows foreign films will screen it soon. Slumdog Millionaire (Charlie Yeung), attempts to grab his attention, but his heart is stuck on seeing Ashes of Time (Maggie Cheung). Later on, a friend from the east side of town (Leung Ka Fai) informs him that Westgate Art will be closing soon. He burns down his hut and returns to campus. He will someday be called Malicious West.

  10. FTIN Says:

    Distance births desire;
    Wine chides parole.
    Swordsmen our agency,
    fictions of the soul.

    Worlds devoid of fathers,
    brothers purport rule.
    Money, loyalty equal
    in the Jianghu.

    Bodies efface gender;
    Sand, victor o’er time.
    Death a sop towards
    Vicissitudes sublime.

    Reliant on blindness
    our faith is driven.
    Betwixt love and pain:
    Finitude forgiven.


  11. [...] have until midnight E.S.T., Wednesday December 3rd to post your entry. It’s still anybody’s game, people. Get your entries in [...]

  12. oliver Says:

    in the desert the past, present and future meet to sort out their sorrows. with memory as the root of all their pain they seek a way to escape it. wine, wandering and war are explored. wong kar wai opens up to the task of capturing it and offers up a stunning vision of this inner turmoil in all its shadows, shapes and brilliant colours.

  13. Michael Says:

    Ashes of Time Redux is a trip to memory lane where each characters in the story has a troubled past, their past is characterised and united by regret. Even though time will heal everything, they presently still indulge in their regretful and troubled past while they take the presents as granted. Ashes of Time is like a prequel to Louis Cha novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes where we understand how they got their alias from-The Heretic East and the Venomous West. Because of their past, they have to struggle through their present which in turn shape their future.

  14. Kin Leung Says:

    you can’t forget your past no matter how hard you try…


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