"2046' " + "In the Mood For Love" = Lost True Love Handbook
Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi, Maggie Cheung, Gong Li...
The most romantic faces are now in Asia..
Mr Kar Wai, the Hong Kong film director that plays in the same league of people like Fellini, or Wells or Truffaut, declared, some time ago, that ideally one should see "2046" first , and only afterwards "In the Mood for Love" in order to understand the full package in the correct order.
Thanks to plasma-screen and DVD-reading technologies that's what I've done this weekend. Time and time again, I cannot stress too many times that there's a "critical mass" regarding information about any given subject, which by attaining it, like speeding towards the sound barrier, gives you a totally different grasp of that subject. It's like total immersion techniques in language learning versus pitiful slow longterm efforts.
So "2046" it was, and "In the Mood for Love" (plus, afterwards, all the bonus material of the DVD special editions).
Are we still entitled to have secrets?
WKW explains his "2046" project: "There is a need in all of us to have to hide or store certain memories, thoughts, impulses, hopes and dreams. These are part of our lives that we can't resolve or best not cast upon but at the same time we are afraid to jettison them. For some, this is a physical place; for others, it is a mental space, and for a few it is neither". On a recent interview, Kar-Wai says all his secrets are in his films, he does not need, as his characters do, to find a hole on a tree, a hole on a stone wall in Ankhor Vat, or two female fingers shaping a circle, to whisper the secret they want to share.
Personal secrets are the spice and blood of one's journals. Can one have both a journal (with secrets) and a partner? Or a partner (say, a wife) should in principle be allowed to read one's journal? Was Tolstoy right in showing her fiancée his diaries just before marriage? (She was horrified and couldn't believe the sexual dissaray of his husband-to-be). Was John Lennon right in asking Yoko Ono for a list of all her previous lovers? Is it acceptable behaviour for individuals engaged in serious relationships to maintain a territory of un-shared thoughts or writings? Their "secrets"? On the other hand, do we really have an urge to spill the beans sooner or later? Somehow, after the time spent with WKM's films, I think that Art indeed is spilling one's secret beans..
True Love (TL) in space/time...
"Time waits for no one, even for me" . The male leading character in both films, , played by Tony Leung, is a family-man in "In the Mood for Love" ( Chow Mo-Wan) who arrives "too soon" at his True Love discovery. Both her (Maggie Cheung playing Su Lizhen) and himself are not available - both married although both betrayed - and cannot live through their discovery. In "2046", Bai Ling (played by Zhang Ziyi) thinks she has found TL, but it's too late for Chow, now a womaniser who does not want to commit because he assumes his true TL is irretriveably lost somewhere in the past. As the saturated colours, the moodish music and the elegant desperate faces tell us, TL is never to be experienced in the present, being either a dream in the future or a loss in the past. Either too soon or too late. In that sense, a WKW movie is the strict opposite of happy-ending Holywood films, where TL is always rewarded in the final photograms. It's painful of course to be a grown-up..
To change. To move on
email@example.com from Singapore.
Several years in the making and highly anticipated, _2046_ (2004) should pacify director Wong Kar Wai's fans, at least, for its end-of-an-era feel and look. At its core, this is a decidedly (or deceptively) simple movie, in spite of its fractured and non-linear narrative. It tells the tale of an emotionally wrecked man, Chow Mo Wan (played by Tony Leung), a reprised character from Wong's critically acclaimed earlier oeuver, _In the Mood for Love (2000)_, and the many beautiful women he keeps and fails to keep, in a time-space continuance that is laden with sepia-tinted memories: a monologue, if you will, of Chow's torrid love affairs, love spats, and the ensuing heartbreaks resulting, no doubt, from the pangs of a failed liaison Chow is trying to escape. It'd appear that the failed relation with Su Lizhen (Maggie Cheung) in _In the Mood for Love_, who has a "special appearance" in this film, has changed Chow irrevocably, which is key to understanding Chow's troubled soul. But it is not a sequel necessarily, per se, to _In the Mood for Love_. This film can still be watched on its own, though it'd certainly help if you could link moments in _2046_ to the director's earlier works, for it's laden with jumbled continuity (take the character of Lulu, for example, first seen in _Days of Being Wild (1991)_), hidden meanings (read: Neo-Godardian) and other fun stuff, sorta an insider's joke, if you dig such esoteric things. But I digress. And it's been said that this is a culmination of all the previous filmic experience of director Wong (bordering on narcissism); hence its "end-of-an-era" feel and look is duly appreciated and a point well taken.In _2046_, Chow's isn't an easily likable character owing to the frailty and the vagaries of his own personal emotions and peccadilloes, but that makes him only human and real, and his character, believable. Take the following exchange: