7.7/10
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Happy Together (1997)

Chun gwong cha sit (original title)
Trailer
1:26 | Trailer
Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a... See full summary »

Director:

(as Kar Wai Wong)

Writer:

(as Kar Wai Wong)
6 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
...
Chang
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gregory Dayton ...
Lover
Shirley Kwan ...
(scenes cut)
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Storyline

Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a tango bar to save up for his trip home. When a beaten and bruised Po-Wing reappears, Yiu-Fai is empathetic but is unable to enter a more intimate relationship. After all, Po-Wing is not ready to settle down. Yiu-Fai now works in a Chinese restaurant and meets the youthful Chang from Taiwan. Yiu-Fai's life takes on a new spin, while Po-Wing's life shatters continually in contrast. Written by Perry Yu <perry@pobox.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

30 May 1997 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Happy Together  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$153,096 (USA) (14 November 1997)

Gross:

$187,508 (USA) (21 November 1997)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony Chiu Wai Leung was unaware that his character does boxing. Kar-Wai Wong made Chiu Wai take boxing lessons and later filmed fight scenes that were cut from the final film. Wong said Chiu Wai's performance was improved because of the energy he had from boxing. See more »

Goofs

Before Fai push starts the old car, the engine has already started while it is standing still. See more »

Quotes

Lai Yiu-fai: I didn't see Chang, but I saw his family. I finally understood how he could be happy running around so free. It's because he has a place he can always return to.
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Crazy Credits

In some prints, Jacques Picoux (the French subtitle translator) is listed twice in a row in the closing credits. See more »


Soundtracks

Cucurrucucu Paloma
by Caetano Veloso
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User Reviews

 
A Highly Stylized Emotional Roller Coaster
12 April 2009 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

Happy Together is a throbbing, raw, and profoundly nostalgic lament from two displaced traveling Chinamen yearning for emotional soundness, for their homeland, and for each other. Wong doesn't front us any of the flickering that can still be struck between lovers who fight all the time. There is no deep poetic interpretation of the story itself, but by leaving so much unsaid, writer-director Wong Kar-Wai doesn't make the misstep of suffocating his characters' relationship with trite soap dialogue. That is not to say, however, that the film even remotely knows the meaning of the phrase "less is more."

You don't watch this film as much as seize on to it. Letting it yank you every which way is a raucous yet intriguing excursion, with fertile visual stylizations that trail you long after seeing the film, all with the impact to communicate directly with the heart. The visuals make the film come alive, and make material the displacement, and thus the unhinging, that the main characters feel from their surroundings and each other. Rather than using dialogue, this highly stylized romance chiefly imparts its themes and moods through its images, and Wong fashions an interior audiovisual composition about the mood swings of a love affair. Wong's use of images for purely emotional photogenic value, feverish camera movements, jukebox soundtrack and his improvisation and experimentation with the actors have an effect reminiscent of Scorsese's Mean Streets. In Wong's emotional roller coaster of a film, the characters seem to have a formidable intuitive certainty that their relationship is star- crossed sooner or later, but they follow passionate impulses regardless, giving the film a dreamy texture that it can't shake as its lovers turn-step to and fro during their free-form Argentine spree.

Wong gradually layers the relationship, just like it would happen in real life, and the doubts and obscurities are constant. He extracts powerful performances from his lead actors. While Leslie Cheung gracefully fluctuates his moments between yearning, resentment, and anger, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is the calm eye of the storm.

Leung acts from the inside. We intuit his feelings through his natural physical subtleties, chiefly through the sensitive eyes. Even purely physical scenes, like the fights he has with Leslie Cheung's character, don't happen suddenly. Leung winds up for these moments instinctively and then defensively underplays them. And when the tears come, they pour without affectation, making me wonder from what part of Leung's soul he quietly unearths these moments from as Wong rolls the camera.


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