Chungking Express (1994) and Fallen Angels (1995)
Takeshi Kaneshiro got his break in Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express (below), in which he plays Cop 223, a lovesick policeman who has just ended a five-year relationship with his girlfriend. Every day for a month he purchases a tin of pineapples with an expiration date of May 1. After a month, he thinks, he'll either be with her again or their love, like the pineapples, will have expired. Kaneshiro reprised the role in Wong's Fallen Angels - sort of. He plays a mute who lost his ability to speak after eating a tin of pineapples that's past its expiration date. Both characters are named He Zhimu, but the one in Fallen Angels is a criminal.
Sleepless Town (1998)
Kaneshiro made best use of his mixed heritage in 1998's Sleepless Town, a Japanese production in which he plays a half-Chinese, half-Japanese youth involved in the stolen goods racket. Caught in the middle of a war between rival Chinese gangs, he must track down his former partner who was responsible for killing a crime boss' right-hand man. He stars opposite Eric Tsang Chi-wai, Kathy Chow Hoi-mei and Mirai Yamamoto of Jackie Chan's Who Am I?
Turn Left, Turn Right (2003)
Director Johnnie To Kei-fung was said to know who he wanted for his leading man in 2003's Turn Left, Turn Right before he ever began work on the film. Kaneshiro was perfect, he said, for playing the violinist whose mind was too much in the clouds to pay attention to the world around him. Gigi Leung Wing-kei stars opposite Kaneshiro as a translator. The two are perfect for one another but never meet despite many close encounters in the city and the fact that they live in the same building. They seem to always be walking in different directions.
House of Flying Daggers (2004)
Zhang Yimou's martial arts hit pits Kaneshiro against Andy Lau Tak-wah as military captains Jin and Leo in the Tang dynasty. The 'flying daggers' they're trying to find is a secret army of rebels who oppose the government and steal from the rich to give to the poor. The pair believe a blind dancer named Mei, played by Zhang Ziyi, can lead them to the subversives - but their love for her leads instead to tragedy.
Perhaps Love (2005)
Kaneshiro started his career as a singer and sang his way through parts of last year's Perhaps Love (below), a film that often draws comparisons with Moulin Rouge for its musical content and because it is a story within a story. He plays Lin Jiandong, an actor who goes to Shanghai to star in a musical film, only to learn that the woman playing his female love interest (an award-winning performance by Zhou Xun), was his girlfriend in Beijing a decade earlier.