Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Broken Sword With Broken Arm

"Broken Sword" has broken his arm! It's practically all I've been thinking about today. Perhaps I should explain for those who haven't yet heard...

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai was so injured while training for Wong Kar Wai's next picture, a biopic about Bruce Lee's mentor called The Grand Master (not to be confused with Ip Man starring Donnie Yen which is on the same topic). Apparently his arm must rest for over a month (the September start date is looking shaky). My poor Tony. That arm is a cinematic treasure: it draped languorously over his head while he smoked in bed, it tenderly held stuffed animals and Faye Wong's legs, it smoked endless cigarettes and carried so many noodles, it held Tang Wei down while another appendage had its way with her, it embraced the goddess Maggie Cheung so many times. No real harm should ever come to it.

If you're thinking 'Nathaniel's laying it on thick,' I hereby assign you a triple feature of Chiu Wai essentials.

You'll thank me. Any triple from this list will more than make the case for loving him deeply, fanatically.
  • Chungking Express (1994) see the first Wong Kar Wai movie to make a real dent in America. It's so gorgeous. Bonus points: Brigitte Lin and Takeshi Kaneshiro.
  • Happy Together (1997) Tony's stormy gay romance with Leslie Cheung.
  • In the Mood For Love (2000) among the very best romantic dramas of all time. That isn't hyperbole.
  • Hero (2002) when Tony did martial arts without breaking his arm.
  • Infernal Affairs (2002) doing the DiCaprio thing before DiCaprio himself did it, The Departed being a remake and all.
  • Lust, Caution (2006) See Tony in the altogether giving (arguably) his best performance.
He's made many other movies. Some fine. Some not so. Like any giant movie star. But he's the best. He's even won the equivalent of three Oscars for Chinese language films.

If anything Tony's broken arm makes me love him even more.
I'm not sure what it is but there is something so appealing about the wounded. I don't mean that in a sick violent way but in an... um... affectionate healer way. Consider. Was Brad Pitt ever more attractive than when his arm was in a sling and his head and nose were all bloody and bandaged in Se7en ? Didn't Javier Bardem radiate more heat from his wheelchair lovemaking in Live Flesh than he did standing on two legs in other movies? Or is this just a personal quirk?

Nah, it can't be. Oscar loves wounded men, too. I know I'm not completely alone. But they like their wounds to be permanent (disabilities, disease) so that they can praise the man for soldiering forth with courage and determination. They like their women wounded too... if you consider the surrendering of beauty (de-glam!) to be a physical disability (and you know they do).

I've lost the thread. My point is this: Get well soon, Tony.


Tim said...

Absolutely one of the best actors in the world right now, or ever. Though I must disagree with you on one point - In the Mood for Love is (arguably) his best performance. And since it's pretty much everybody's Best Movie of the 00s, I think it should be mandatory on everyone's triple feature.

Anyway, here's to a speedy recovery, both for his sake and ours.


thanks for piping in.

every time i post about Tony Leung Chiu Wai everyone gets really quiet. So I'm thinking of punishing all readers by having at least one Leung post a week.

i haven't rewatched in the mood for love in about 5 years but i'm assuming it's still spectacular spectacular... so perhaps it is his best performance. I just felt he conveyed so much within a very very narrow regimen in Lust, Caution.

God, 2001 was so great at the movies (released in the US then). so many classics and transcendent warmly remembered movies.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with Tim. A sensational talent.

And Nathaniel, I was also just looking back at 2001 and it even exceeds the much discussed greatness of 2007. Compare the two's best.

2001 - Mulholland Drive, Moulin Rouge, LOTR- Fellowship of the Ring, Amelie, In the Mood for Love, Spirited Away, Royal Tenenbaums, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, Memento, Ghost World, Monsters Inc. and way too many more.

2007 - There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Once, Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Assassination of Jesse James, Michael Clayton, The Savages, Sweeney Todd, Control, Eastern Promises, I'm Not There, Hot Fuzz, Zodiac and more.

Such sensation years.

Anonymous said...

Loved his cute balls in Lust, Caution.

nothingiswritten said...

Nat, I'm usually too busy swooning at your photos of Tony Leung Chiu Wai to respond. But if one post a week about him is your idea of punishment, I'll keep quiet so you'll punish away!

Alison Flynn said...

I LOVE him, as well as his frequest co-star Maggie (gorgeous woman). They both need more love.

And I adored your description of each and everything that that arm did. :D

Catherine said...

I'm going to take you up on that assignment, because I think the only one of his films that I've seen is ITMFL (which, swoon).

Anonymous said...

While I enjoyed his turn in In The Mood For Love, I also found his performance in 2046 to be as good as that one.

g. neidisch said...

Happy Together is imho when he's at his best...

gabrieloak said...

Thanks so much for posting this. Asian actors get so little attention in the media and Tony Leung is one of the best. Such mournful eyes.

kin said...

Considering that he is an Hong Kong actor, I think we should highlight his wins for the Hong Kong film awards. He has seven (7!!) HK film awards, five for leads (the five films that you mentioned, not counting Lust--which wasn't eligible because it is Taiwanese), and two supporting actor wins. That's pretty crazy. I don't think anyone would argue that he is the best Hong Kong actor currently. He is definitely our Meryl Streep (continuing your Sreep theme).

/3rtfu11 said...

He's damn cute!

Anonymous said...

When you were commenting on hurt actors looking more attractive, and then went to Javier Bardem, the image of him tending to his wound in "No country for old men" popped my mind (before I finished reading the sentence), and I thought you were going a bit too far by finding him lovable there! ;)
I guess it's your paternal instinct kicking in (why you like wounded actors). Also it could be you see the wounds as a manifestation of inner wounds?

Peter Nellhaus said...

Don't wait for the US version of Red Cliff. Get the original versions on DVD NOW! I'll be posting on part II next week, with a link to purchase.

Jeffrey said...

Here's some photos of Tony Leung with a cast on his arm: