Thursday, 29 January 2015

2046 (3 Stars)

Everyone who goes to 2046 has the same intention, they want to recapture lost memories, because in 2046 nothing ever changes. But we don't know if that is true or not, because nobody has ever come back.

"2046" is a sequel to "In the mood for love". After spending a few years in Singapore, Chow Mo-Wan returns to Hong Kong in 1966. Just as in the first film he has twisted relationships with women. He moves into room 2047 in a hotel. Room 2046 is empty for a few months, but through the thin walls he hears the hotel owner's daughter, Wang Jing Wen, using the room to practise Japanese. She has a Japanese lover, but she isn't allowed to marry him because her father hates the Japanese. The lover, who we never see, has now returned to Japan, and they stay in contact by mail. The father doesn't allow her to receive letters from him, so Chow acts as an intermediary, receiving the letters and passing them on to her. Chow falls in love with Wang, even though she has no feelings for him. Eventually Wang has a mental breakdown and goes into a mental hospital.

After this a young prostitute, Bai Ling, moves into Room 2046. They have a torrid sexual relationship. Bai falls in love with Chow, but he feels nothing for her and wants to pay for her services. As a compromise she accepts 10 Hong Kong Dollars as a special reduced rate, the equivalent of less than one US dollar. Bai even gives up working as a prostitute to devote herself to Chow, but he cold-heartedly turns her away. He only loves Wang.

At this time he begins to write a story called "2046". 2046 is both a year and a place. The characters in the book are based on the people he knows. The film shows scenes from this futuristic world played by the same actors as the real world. Chow is the only traveller on a train leaving 2046, a journey that will last many years, maybe forever. To keep him company there is a pleasure android that looks like Wang. In the story Chow has sex with Wang, which never happened in the real world. But just as in the real world, she doesn't love him, even though Chow imagines himself to be Japanese in the story.

This is a sad, sad film. What makes it all the more tragic is that Chow can't even be happy in his fantasies. I have to ask, what's the point of a fantasy if it's just as depressing as real life?

On the other hand, any man who falls asleep when he's on the back seat of a car with Zhang Ziyi deserves to be miserable. No wonder she looks annoyed!

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