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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2046 (2004)


This visually extravagant slice of romantic fatalism from Hong Kong helmer Wong Kar Wai is a near sequel to IN THE MOOD/’00. Tony Leung reprises as Chow Mo-Wan, journalist, pulp fiction writer and the prince of missed opportunities. No longer content with one brief unhappy encounter, he navigates a series of unsustainable relationships with femmes (fatale & otherwise) many living just down the hall. So many desirable neighbors!, a raft of lovelies for him to prove unworthy of (Gong Li, Faye Wong, Ziyi Zhang, Maggie Cheung). All this, plus his current writing project, a futuristic sci-fi novel entitled 2046 (he lives in room 2047) that he’s fantasized himself into. Wong uses an elastic timeline almost as repetitive & deterministic as GROUNDHOG DAY/’93, with each new encounter beginning on a Christmas Eve as Nat King Cole sings Mel Tormé’s ‘Christmas Song’ on the radio. It’s Leung’s cue to once more find (and lose) that eternal love, like some latter day TALES OF HOFFMAN/’51. Compared to IN THE MOOD, the palette & narrative conceit have swapped brush strokes for impasto, but it’s still pretty wonderful.

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