Posts Tagged ‘leslie cheung

01
Apr
08

now i can ask, now i can say

I’m not one to obsess over dead celebrities – or live ones, for that matter – but there have been a few untimely losses over the years that have given me pause. Jeff Buckley, or Adrienne Shelly… or this post’s subject, Leslie Cheung. So at great risk to my celebrity-snubbing reputation I’m going to get personal here & knock out a full-blown tribute.

Well, maybe half-blown.
0.125-blown.

Leslie Cheung

Four years ago I rented a movie called Happy Together because of it’s star, Tony Leung Chiu Wai – a Hong Kong colleague of Leslie’s and one of the most talented actors in the world, IMO. As much as I enjoyed Tony’s performance, I was speechless watching Leslie Cheung. It’s a good thing Tony had scenes of his own in that film, otherwise I might not have remembered him even being in it. Cheung’s captivatingly violent pouting skills were something of a trademark of his. His characters were usually troubled, often sullen, which made their moments of joy so disturbingly bright.

I was hooked. After Happy Together, I found Days of Being Wild, then Ashes of Time, and then the realization that I was a year too late. Leslie had killed himself the year before, in 2003 (on April Fools’ Day, actually – making today his 5 year Death-iversary). It was a sad and disappointing discovery, but I hadn’t been in the habit of building shrines to superstars so I filed it away in my brain and let it blur into memory.

The inspiration for this post came recently as I was planning my next Netflix film festival [1]. I had rented Lust, Caution and the whole time I kept thinking, “Where’s Leslie?” Tony Leung was the star again, and like I said, he’s amazing and was completely right for that role, but I suppose it was the film’s time period or the sentimental soundtrack that got me thinking about what Leslie’s missed out on. What we’ve all missed out on [2].

Yeah, he made some shitty movies, nibbled at the mise-en-scene, and was otherwise pretty much…ahema diva, but he entertained me. So I decided to hold a Leslie Cheung-a-thon, not realizing that thousands of his fans were thinking the same thing at roughly the same time.

Leslie Cheung

Read more about him here.
Watch him here, here, here, or where ever you can [3].
Raise a collective eyebrow at the mixtape I made for this post here.
,k

[1] Okay, so I like to thematically arrange my Netflix queue into mini-festivals to give myself a solid block of Godard, or Fellini, or ST:Voyager Season 4 to contemplate all at once. I know I’m not the only one.
[2] In The Mood For Love? But of course. 2046? Are you kidding me? He would have rocked the part of that damaged, womanizing sleaze. No offense, Tony.
[3] Just don’t watch his last movie ever unless you’re prepared for the art-imitating-life ending. I never thought derivative tripe could make me cry, but there you have it.
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