A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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2046
2004 - Wong Kar Wai - China / France / Germany / Hong Kong
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"All memories are traces of tears." 2046 is a cinematic love letter to old fashioned cinema. It is also like a collection of Wong Kar-Wai's previous films. Characters, dialogue, even images are recalled yet revisioned into a fascinating new world. 2046 is a masterpiece work of art from a truly genius visionary filmmaker. It captures Wong's style and themes with such poetic grace and beauty. While it's not a requirement, those familiar with Wong's previous work will probably greater appreciate 2046. Wong's trademark cinematic techniques (quick cuts, atmospheric and repetitive imagery / music, neon lightning, beautiful compositions, mirrored images, fast and slow motion, freeze frame, etc), nonlinear structure, stunning cinematography (by the great Christopher Doyle) and elegant multi-themed musical score, both absorb and challenge the viewer. Ultimately, 2046 is a film of love, memories, and longing- the longing to get back the past, and get back lost love. It's also a film about a man who wants to change and forget the past, yet as he does, memories resurface. The film is told (as Wong said) "like a diary", with nonlinear intersecting storylines. It's a partial follow-up to Wong's previous film (2000's masterpiece In The Mood For Love) in that Tony Leung reprises his role as Chow Mo Wan. Now several years later, Chow is back in Hong Kong (he left for Singapore and Cambodia at the end of In the Mood For Love). Chow is still a writer who's working on a new novel, which is set in 2046. The film follows the present (1960's) and 2046, an imaginary place of memory (it was the hotel room number which Chow would meet Su Li-zhen Chan in the 2000 film). In the present, Chow comes across a hotel number 2046 and wants to move in. Instead he is given room 2047 and that's where he begins to write the novel. We observe Chow flirt with several women and then leave them when they want to be loved. This is quite a contrast from the Chow from In the Mood For Love, but now he is a man who has given up on love. He loved a woman once and his secret remains buried under mud in the Buddhist temple of Cambodia. Featuring a phenomenal star-studded cast, 2046's performances are all outstanding. Leung is once again incredible, and the beautiful Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Faye Wong are equally wonderful (also Carina Lau returns as Lulu from Days of Being Wild and Maggie Cheung evens makes an archived cameo performance as Su Li-zhen. They each convey an energetic expression and emotional longing with body movements, language, postures. Zhang is especially terrific in the most complex and ultimately best performance of her career. 2046 captures cinema as Wong Kar-Wai masters: with poetic and artistic beauty and joy. While not Wong's all-time greatest masterpiece (that would be In the Mood For Love, and Days of Being Wild), it remains among his best work and a flawless film in all aspects of filmmaking- be it visually, stylistically, or emotionally. It's a lovely collection of Wong's transcendent vision (poetic, romantic longing) and skills and a film those familiar with his work will truly admire.
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