Mark Llobrera

Criterion’s Most Anticipated Films of 2021

Criterion’s The Current just posted their most anticipated films of 2021. Lots of big names here including Wong Kar Wai, Sofia Coppola, Barry Jenkins, and Michael Mann. I’m glad to see more tv miniseries (sorry, limited series) from established filmmakers, proving once again that while tv and film are distinct media, creative intent should be the deciding factor, not prestige.

Criterion’s post did answer what happened to Wong Kar Wai’s project Tong Wars:

Three years ago, Wong Kar Wai was speaking excitedly to reporters in France about his first foray into the long-form narrative, an epic series for Amazon about Chinese Americans in San Francisco from around 1905 through to the early 1970s. The format, he said, allows filmmakers “a bigger canvas to tell their stories.” He understood that “people are worried about whether this TV series or this kind of storytelling will become a competition to cinema. I don’t think so. They are just the different children of Lumière.”

Tong Wars, though, was abandoned before it went into production, and Wong turned instead to Blossoms Shanghai. Based on Jin Yucheng’s 2013 novel Blossoms, the winner of several prestigious literary awards in China, the series will star Hu Ge (The Wild Goose Lake) as a go-getter making millions during the economic boom of the early 1990s. Wong, who hasn’t directed a film since The Grandmaster in 2013, will direct the pilot—and he may be planning a new feature as well, a sequel to Chungking Express (1994).

Not sure how I feel about a Chungking Express sequel, though—some things are better left alone.