Joking aside, In the Mood for Love captured a moment when culture was shifting, when women’s roles expanded before society could adjust. Similarly, Chungking Express dealt in part with immigrants from Mainland China just as the 1997 handover loomed.

“We thought of Mainland Chinese as sort of a joke,” Wong said. “That’s why I wanted to cast Faye Wong, a singer from Beijing, to show that they are perhaps smarter than we thought. The same with Leon Lai, also from Beijing, for Fallen Angels.”

An Evening with Wong Kar Wai at MoMA