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2046 (2005)

Action & Adventure and Art House & International movie directed by Kar Wai Wong

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Bits and Pieces of Love Stories from a Writer's Mind: A Wondrous Journey

  • Jan 2, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+5
Kar Wai Wong is more than a film director (though he is one of the finest directors working today!): he is a visual, poetic, creative and daring artist capable of more cinematic miracles in one isolated film than most directors achieve in a lifetime. '2046' is a visually stunning, intellectually challenging, emotionally charged view of love and lust in today's kinetically dysfunctional society.

There is no one way to interpret this non-linear film and therein lies much of its rewards. The main character Chow (Tony Leung) is a writer and a libertine who has pushed his vacuous life around with his hormones and though he has had many affairs he has failed to find the illusory 'love'. He has lived in Singapore and Hong Kong, makes his living writing columns of newspapers while his novels formulate in his mind. One of his novels is called '2046', the title based on the room number in a hotel where he witnessed a bizarre incident involving a gorgeous woman, and resulted in his moving into the adjoining room 2047 where is meets the hotel manager's daughter in love with a Filipino Japanese man her father loathes. He desires this unattainable woman and fuses her with a fictional 'android' in his novel which now uses '2046' as a year or time or place where people go to find memories. He continues to encounter women for whom he desires more than surface relationships (there is a stunning lady gambler cameo who represents everything he lusts and longs for, etc) but he is never able to find his tenuous ideal: his memory is his only source of consolation.

The actors in every role include many of the finest actors available: Li Gong, Ziyi Zhang, Carina Lau, Maggie Cheung, Takuya Kimura, Chen Chang, and of course Tony Leung. But it is Kar Wai Wong, the writer, director, choreographer, colorist, visionary that makes this excursion into the interstices of the mind/imagination so overwhelmingly satisfying. Whether the viewer elects to view the story as a continyation of the director's previous films, or as reality vs memory, fiction vs imagination, sci-fi excursion, or simply a plethora of vignettes about the challenges of finding love in a world geared toward instant gratification, this is a magnificent achievement. In many ways the sound track could be turned off (though the beautiful musical score by Peer Raben and Shigeru Umebayashi with a lot of help from Maria Callas! would be missed), and the inventive cinematography and visual image manipulations by Christopher Doyle, Pung-Leung Kwan and Yiu-Fai Lai such as the constant dividing of the screen into triptychs and diptychs would remain some of the most beautiful photographic images on film.

This is not an easy film to follow and it is most assuredly one that will grow in importance with repeated viewings. The comparison with Alain Resnais' 'Last Year at Marienbad' suggests its potency. But free the mind and enter into the world of '2046' for one of the most satisfying cinematic achievements of the recent past. Very highly recommended. Grady Harp, January 05

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More 2046 (2005) reviews
review by . August 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What inspired you to write a review?   Seeing my old review and how off I was in what I wrote. 4 years ago I watched 2046 and only really appreciated it for it's beautiful language and extremely gorgeous cinematography and brilliant colors. Now I see it for everything it is not just a few strong points. For one watching the previous films from this series may only help you a little. 2046 is a film that takes time to get into and time to truly understand. But the problem is that it …
review by . December 06, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
I too had some problems finishing 2046 like the reviewer below me but I was glad to push myself through the end. I may know why some people may have a problem with this film and it's because this film is the third release of the Wong Kar-Wai trilogy. Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love are the first two films and from the little bit of In the Mood For Love I got to see 2046 is in the same style though it is said that 2046 is a lose sequel. The first two films may have things that need to …
review by . July 19, 2006
I have a fond interest in Hong Kong cinema, but Wong Kar-wai in particular. And since this was a follow-up to his marvellous film "In the Mood for Love", which ties into the world founded in his elliptical, perplexing 1990 masterpiece "Days of Being Wild", the anticipation was high...    Unfortunately, "2046" represents a kind of self-implosion for Wong, whose films have always been stubborn in cutting their own path in the face of audience needs and expectations. Now, when he …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Wiki

In Wong Kar Wai's quasi-sequel toIn the Mood for Love, 2046 is a hotel room, a futuristic story, and a state of mind. Tony Leung returns as Chow, but perhaps not the same Chow who appeared in the first film. Starting three years later in 1966, we see Chow on various Christmases as he lives, loves, and writes in a hotel and nearby restaurants. Although he is less sensitive and more of a ladies man now, Chow's love life always seems to exceed his grasp. Whether the character is the same (the director calls this an "echo" of the first movie) might be trivial. Hong Kong filmmaker Wai is such a visualist (Timemagazine tabbed him as the "world's most romantic filmmaker"), the images wash over with swirling smoke, neon lights, and the faces of his outstanding cast, all lovingly photographed and smoothly scored. There's a lot more going on than the visuals, and Wai's fans will certainly find more and more details on repeated viewings. We travel into Chow's futuristic story, where the acquaintances become fictional characters traveling to a place where "everyone goes" to recapture lost memories. Often Chow talks about never seeing a lover ever again, but eventually bumps into her. The final result is a film some will cherish; others will long for the more traditional storyline of the first film. Wai certainly finds a new direction for actress Ziyi Zhang (House of Flying Daggers) as a prostitute who becomes one of Chow's many ...
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Details

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Genre: Foreign
Release Date: September 29, 2004
Screen Writer: Kar Wai Wong
DVD Release Date: December 26, 2005
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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