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...
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cheng Chang's storyline was completely improvised. Wong Kar-Wai discovered restaurant China Central by chance and, seizing Leslie Cheung's absence due to a concert tour, decided to keep shooting. So Chang's plot was created. See more »
Before Fai push starts the old car, the engine has already started while it is standing still. See more »
"Happy Together" is a depressing film. Yet it's one which I keep coming back to when I feel down and heartbroken.
Lost souls, lonely, longing, and lovelorn, are staples in the Wong Kar-Wai universe. His best works uncannily portray the beauty and misery of being struck by love and its multiple variations and illusions. His fluid, script-free, improvisational style of work is now legendary and applies well to the unpredictable nature of this subject matter while giving his works a raw, open-ended quality. "Happy Together" is quite probably his rawest work to date and, as a result, one of the most difficult to watch (this honor goes to "Ashes of Time"). The rawness makes it seem organic. It feels as if it's an ever-evolving creature which hides and exposes its multiple facets with each different viewing.
Argentina sounds like a great romantic escape for most of us but for our couple, Po-wing (Leslie Cheung) and Yiu-fai (Tony Leung), it's a lonely, bleak, melancholic place on the edge of the world. Travelogue film this isn't. Buenos Aires may have initially held romantic promise for them. "Let's start over," Po-wing asks Yiu-fai yet again, and off they go to South America to work things out. Soon, however, the place becomes a physical representation of their relationship. It's claustrophobic and oppressive, something that could've been so beautiful yet one which they now need to escape from. Wong beautifully portrays spectacular Iguazu Falls with mythical significance throughout the film. Initially nothing more than amusing kitsch, it eventually progresses as the defining geographical manifestation of their amorous aspirations. It achieves such heavy, symbolic power, the last time we see it is one of the most memorable scenes in the film.
If the homosexual angle seems downplayed here, it is to parallel the film's treatment. It's so matter-of-fact it's irrelevant and even embarrassing to make an issue out of it. This is a couple who just happens to be gay. Indeed, there is nothing gay-specific about the film, the couple may well have been straight and it wouldn't make a difference at all.
"Happy Together" is such a vivid examination of a relationship, it's occasionally painful to watch. The emotional authenticity, however, makes it quite absorbing. Wong Kar-Wai often aims for the heart and, with the possible exception of "In the Mood for Love", he's never been closer to his target.
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