About 300 journalists crammed into a 200-seat room to hear director Wong Kar Wai, actor Jude Law, and singer-turned-actress Norah Jones discuss their film, My Blueberry Nights, a romantic drama that opened the 60th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
"Sometimes the tangible distance between two persons," Wong explained, "can be quite small but the emotional one can be miles. My Blueberry Nights is a look at those distances, from various angles. I wanted to explore these expanses, both figuratively and literally, and the lengths it takes to overcome them."
My Blueberry Nights tells the story of a young woman (Norah Jones) who, following the departure of her boyfriend, spends her nights at a New York diner eating blueberry pie and chatting with the owner of the establishment (Jude Law). Eventually, she decides to leave New York City, ending up on the western half of the U.S.
According to Wong Kar Wai, this road movie "is not a road movie. What matters isn't the trip, but the distance. She leaves New York and goes to the other side of the country, as far away as possible from the man that left her."
Well, she certainly could've gone much further — ending up in Wong's own Hong Kong, for instance, but the acclaimed director of Fa yeung nin wa / In the Mood for Love and 2046 apparently wanted to make an American story.
Wong said that the inspiration for My Blueberry Nights was "the short film that I made, a 6-minute short film, which was supposed to be part of In the Mood for Love. … And one of the reasons I wanted to make the film in the United States at that point is because I wanted to work with Norah, and this is a very good story for Norah. I thought it interesting to do it in English and shoot in New York because she plays in New York, and because of her schedule at that time. So I took it as the starting point and we developed the story, which is quite different, because the short film is basically only the first chapter of the film. … From the diner we go to Memphis, and then across the country. … It's not a road movie, it's not about journey; it's about destiny."
As per an Associated Press report, My Blueberry Nights received only polite applause at the press screening.