“Let’s start over”: after each breakup, or in anticipation of an upcoming one, Po-Wing says this to Yiu-Fai. They have done this many times.
One of his most achingly beautiful films, Chun gwong cha sit brought Wong Kar-Wai the directorial prize at Cannes. It depicts the moody, combustible relationship of two Hong Kong gay lovers visiting Buenos Aires. Tony Leung Chiu Wai, perhaps an actor one cannot imagine playing a homosexual role, is brilliant as the more independent and adaptable of the two, Lai Yiu-Fai, who takes jobs in a tango bar (doorman) and a Chinese restaurant (dishwasher), and eventually finds another partner. Leslie Cheung, six years before his suicide, plays Ho Po-Wing, who suffers most the pair’s final romantic breakup and, on his own, descends into prostitution. Finding Po-Wing on the street beaten up, Yiu-Fai takes him to his apartment in a seedy district but no longer wishes to be his lover. Po-Wing presses. The quick, evanescent style of this heartrending film is keyed to the illusions and sensations, including pop music, of the youthful middle-aged men’s shared and separate lives.
Separate and together: the film opens with their passports being stamped, followed by photographs of them as a couple.
Wong plays with different stocks and speeds, and crams in a dazzling array of other experimental techniques—all this, correlative to the fingertip volatility of the central love-match, the way in which Po-Wing and Yiu-Fai play at love and life, partly in an attempt to rekindle and prolong their faded youth. This is a film of car trips and bus rides, going here and going there: the aimlessness of youthful motion. A bus stops, and the sound of this is like a crack of thunder. Percy Bysshe Shelley would have loved this movie.
B(U)Y THE BOOK
MY BOOK, A Short Chronology of World Cinema, IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE SANDS FILMS CINEMA CLUB IN LONDON. USING EITHER OF THE LINKS BELOW, ACCESS THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS BOOK, FROM WHICH YOU CAN ORDER ONE OR MORE COPIES OF IT. THANKS.