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A Hong Kong writer finds inspiration from the women he's encountered in his past in this futuristicstory of love and memory from Wong Kar Wai, who continues the story he began in his acclaimed masterpiece In the Mood for Love. Remembering back to the early 1960s, when he lived in the Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, Chow (Hero's Tony Leung) writes an erotic story that begins with a mysterious woman who lived in room 2046. Chow moves into room 2047 and begins an affair with a beautiful prostitute who now rents the mysterious woman's room. As he writes his story, which he sets in the future year 2046, Chow tells of a place where people travel to recapture lost memories; he is the first one to return. Nominated for the Golden Palm Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, 2046 also stars Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha) and Maggie Cheung (Hero).
In Wong Kar Wai's quasi-sequel to In 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 (Time magazine 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 lovers. And Leung continues to be one of the world's great film actors, with a face and acting style the camera just loves. --Doug Thomas
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A film of unfulfilled love is a universal theme that has touched all of us in some way. The soundtrack to this film is like a character behind the scenes watching the others, observing the humanity that we all have. A visually beautiful film that will reach those emotions that you thought you had forgotten.
First, without subtitles everyone speaks their own language (so one person might speak mandarin to someone speaking Japanese); so a lot of reviewers got confused. The DVD HAS SUBTITLES and is therefore easy to follow.
The theme is about how a sad romantic past (a lost true love) can leave you emotionally "out of sync" unless you understand that by trying to recapture your past feelings, you are cutting off your ability to fall in love because your emotional anchor is looking backward. You see, the past is fixed, so it cannot change -- you can rely on the past, but the future because it is not establish fact yet, makes one feel powerless to affect the outcomes. So people just "give up" because there are too many variables that would need to come together to make that "perfect feeling of love" to happen again.
2046 is a summation of two other movies this Director made .. "In the Mood for Love", primarily; but also "Days of Being Wild". In the Mood for Love's main link is the hotel room number 2046, which is the room where the lovers met. The love affair does not have a happy ending because the conditions needed to make it work seem outside their control, so they break up. So you see the pattern being questioned in 2046 -- we ponder that "timing is important" but do we surrender any impact on future timing by giving up on finding true love.
In 2046; there are several stories, but the one involving Miss Wang (Faye Wong) and her Japanese boyfriend, is essentially a simpler version of the story the main character went through in "In the Mood for Love".Read more ›
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Now the movie. To me, "2046" is a metaphor for how the Chinese in Hong Kong would be feeling in the year 2046 when they will be fully under Chinese rule. Some who can't or won't accept change will ask why can't things go back to the way it was before, while others will embrace what the future holds. Something like that. Remember the owner telling Chow to stay in 2047 for a while and move to 2046 when the room was ready? Chow later says that he got used to 2047 and decided to stay.
The characters are culled from 2 previous WKW movies that loosely form this trilogy. Carina Lau is Lulu from "Days of Being Wild". Tony Leung also from that movie but only in the very last minute of the film, and of course, he was in "In the Mood for Love". He not only gets to act with his beautiful real-life girlfriend, Carina, but his other female co-stars are also legendary beauties in Asian cinema. Maggie Cheung/Su Lichen is only in a dream sequence, Faye Wong/owner's daughter (this is only her second WKW film) whom Chow has grown affection for, but willing to let her (HK) go, Zhang Ziyi/Bai Ling (a new addition to WKW's stable of muses) who loves Chow (HK) unconditionally whatever his flaws, and Gong Li/Black Spider who wants to go with him but is stuck in the past.
The film is presented in 3 viewpoints: the present "real life" in which Chow is the womanizer who can't be pinned down because of how much he still loves Su Lichen in ITMFL and she is the yardstick by which all future relationships are measured. The futuristic scenes are when he is writing his sci-fi novel and his "real life" people and experiences work their way into the novel. Also, when he can't deal with real life, he goes to his novel and integrates recent real life events into the novel to help make sense of it all. Then there is the one or two dream sequences for when he is narrating his thoughts to us, the viewer.
I'm sure this is only the surface of the many layers this wonderful movie has to explore. I look forward to "getting" more of it with each new viewing.
p.s. after reading others' reviews, I must add that the room in this movie is not the same as in ITMFL, but it does have the same room number which, when it gets his attention, Chow is transported back to the remembrance of the love of his life.
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