Details: (M), 96 mins, Hong Kong,
Synopsis: Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung) 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 (Chen Chang) from Taiwan. Yiu-Fai's life takes on a new spin, while Po-Wing's life shatters continually in contrast.
A mosaic of pain and frustration.
Talented Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai once again establishes his singular visual style in his latest film Happy Together. It's about the disintegration of a relationship between a gay Hong Kong couple, Lai (Tony Leung) and Ho (Leslie Cheung) in Argentina. They bicker, they separate and then Ho wants to move back in with Lai in Buenos Aires but the relationship has already soured...
It's hard to understand why Lai puts up with the selfish, self-destructive Ho, but I guess this film is really about the damage control of loving not too wisely but too well. It's also about the visual gymnastics of its maker Wong Kar Wai who mixes his palette of black and white and colour, video and 16 mm. into a mosaic of pain and frustration.
Australian-born cinematographer Christopher Doyle once again contributes significantly after working on four of Wong's earlier films including Chungking Express and Fallen Angels. Tony Leung as Lai blends into this landscape of heartache splendidly. The introduction of Taiwanese traveller Chang played by Chang Chen into the story brings a warmth to the film that's lacking in the central relationship and it's through Lai's relationship with Chang that some of the most moving scenes emerge. But despite the dynamic visual style there's a langourousness to Happy Together that is ultimately frustrating. So that while I can admire a lot of it, I wish I could have been a bit more involved emotionally.
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