A Tribute to Wayne Wang: Smoke
The very definition of an iconoclast, Wayne Wang has always followed his own path in a career that’s jumped between genres and countries, working at both independent-budget and Hollywood scale. One of the most important Asian-American directors living today, Wang was born in Hong Kong and named after his father’s favorite movie star, John Wayne. He moved to California in the late ’60s and studied film and television at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Wang’s first feature film, Chan Is Missing (1982) was financed through grants and set in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Wang is often identified with films about the Chinese diaspora, including Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1985), Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989), and The Joy Luck Club (1993), but has also made such studio features as Maid in Manhattan (2002) with Jennifer Lopez and Last Holiday (2006) with Queen Latifah, and independent features such as Blue in the Face (Festival 1994) and Center of the World (Festival 2001). His most recent feature, While the Women Are Sleeping, was loosely based on Javier Marias’s short story and shot in Japan. He is currently engaged with remastering, recoloring, and re-editing part of his oeuvre, which only reconfirms what we already knew: Wayne Wang is a craftsman and auteur for the ages. Join us for this program and conversation with Wayne Wang, followed by a screening of Smoke, newly remastered and recolored by the director.
Smoke (Wayne Wang, USA 1995, 112 min)
Collaborating with novelist Paul Auster, director Wayne Wang weaves a multi-character story, revolving around a Brooklyn cigar store where seemingly unrelated incidents, chance meetings, and a paper bag containing $5,000 end up affecting the lives of several people, even linking their destinies. While shop manager Augie (Harvey Keitel) takes a photo in front of his entrance at the same time every day, the drama unfolds like a puzzle and the pieces come together in intriguing, enigmatic, and often quite poignant ways.