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In the Mood for Love / 2046

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I recently saw the films In the mood for Love and 2046 by Wong Kar Wai. I had planned to see the latter for a while but it took ages to come to cinema here, so I recently watched the former to pass time. And that turned out to be a good idea as 2046 – while being a film in its own right and quite different – is a sequel to In the Mood for Love.

Both films deal with the life of a man, Chow, who is a writer, in the 1960s. In In the Mood For Love he moves to a room in a flat with his wife while another couple is moving in next door. He starts being friends with Su, the woman from next door, and they spend some time together while their spouses are away for business trips. While their spouses are having an affair, they are just friends spending a lot of time together and doing some writing after Chow moves to a hotel – room 2046 – to have more time for his writing. At the end of the film, Su moves away, leaving Chow devastated and causing him to move to Singapore.

2046 continues many aspects of that story. Just that Su remains gone and Chow’s relations with four other women are told. He seems to keep looking for aspects of Su in them, but won’t commit to any of them. So it’s not entirely happy. During all this, he lives in room 2047 of a hotel and writes a novel going by the name of 2046 which is in the future reflects some of his experiences.

To be honest, I didn’t quite get the futuristic bits of the film and didn’t see how they are relevant besides looking cool. 2046 was fun to watch – a bit long perhaps – but I thought In the Mood for Love was better, having a simpler story and not trying to force all that many things into a single film (which 2046 apparently does by featuring references to plenty of Wong Kar Wai’s other films as well).

Ignoring the story, these films are well worth watching and re-watching. A lot of effort must have gone into finding 1960s clocks and other electric devices. And even more effort must have gone into getting good looking high-collared dresses in different fabrics for the female roles. There are loads of those. All the pattern and colours go along really well. Just like in Almodóvar’s films. And when it comes to the way Chow dresses, another director, Tarantino comes to my mind  with old fashioned suits, white shirts and narrow ties.

Next I’ll have to re-watch Chungking Express which I taped ages ago but forgot everything about.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

April 15, 2005, 2:08

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