Sunday, November 22, 2009

Film Decade List #20 - 2046

2046 (Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong, 2005)
The one word I use to describe 2046 is ethereal. There's something other-worldly about the film and not that it teeters into science fiction territory. The story feels slight and that a host of strong elements (clunky symbolism, useless f/x or action) would completely overwhelm the delicate film that Wong has created. Operating as more or less a sequel to In the Mood for Love (which we'll get to later), 2046 follows the character as Mr. Chung (Tony Leung), this time as more of a playboy but still dealing with a lot of the same themes as that film. Chung again moves from lovelorn moment to moment while Wong throws in some science fiction elements. It all doesn't have the same emotional resonate of INMFL but in a formal sense, 2046 is much less tethered to reality and exists outside reality at times. Once again, Christopher Doyle's cinematography is enviable beautiful and the larger focus on surface images and color make 2046 a bit more of a visual oriented film. That being said, Wong never completely leaves story behind but it really plays second fiddle to creating that feeling that this film is fleeting and exists ever so briefly in the ether. It's incredibly difficult to describe exactly how I felt watching this. It could have been all too easy for this film to fall into a swirling mess without much grounding it. Wong is such an exceptional filmmaker that it feels like he's pulling important shots and themes out of practically nothing or at least sub-interesting material like science fiction (that's my opinion speaking). It's one of those 'either you get it or you don't films' but for someone like me, this is about an easy like as I can get.

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