Tuesday, December 27, 2005
2404 on 2046
Won Kar Wei makes textural films about love. Multilayered, saturated long takes of breathtakingly beautiful women (Gong Li, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi Faye Wong and Carina Lau) and the husk of a man who has never recovered from his "Momentary Taste of Being", Tony Leung.
Time itself is as elastic as the story and the story(s) within the story. 2046 is a room number is a year is an eschaton of memories buried and forgotten that infuse Mr Melancholy as his life plays out. The living part of him is in the past, the rest is remembrance...back as far as "Days of Being Wild".
Won Kar Wei has taken a page from David Lynch's character in "Lost Highway"--he remembers things his way, not necessarily as they happened.
A lost love has forever changed our "hero". His soul is bereft, his heart irreparably damaged. Inexplicably he continues to attract, bed, and discard women; passions misfire and sputter. Tony Leung's eyes are deep pools of weary loneliness that don't ask for pity or forgiveness.
He is a writer, and his subjects are love, pornography, science fiction--"whatever will sell", we are told, and all his stories are his story.
The film may be too much of a tone poem, too much a pure jewel twisting slowly in the light to hold our attention for two hours, even cinematography as gorgeous as that of Christopher Doyle's needs a car chase...