Twenty, Forty, Six...
We went to see 2046 at the theater last night—an overwhelming experience. I'm under its sway even more than I was after seeing it on DVD, though a fellow Dizzyhead noted that the colors are less saturated in this print than they are on the small-screen version. Still, it's a knockout on a dozen levels.
Someone should do a triple-bill of Wong Kar-wai's three linked movies, a poetic trilogy: Days of Being Wild, In the Mood for Love, and 2046. On this viewing of 2046, I became especially interested in the links between 2046 and Days. Tony Leung's character (Mr. Chow) is told by a showgirlfriend that he reminds her of her late boyfriend, a Chinese Filipino bandleader (or member). The end of DOBW featured an unnamed, dialogueless Leung primping in a low-ceilinged room, combing his hair, etc.—his first appearance in the movie. We are given no explanation. Roll credits!
Are we to understand (now) that this was the showgirl's boyfriend? (My initial, slightly wild theory, was that Leung's character was Leslie Cheung's long-lost father—given the emphasis in the film on "the last thing you see before you die." The Leung character's implicit womanizing ways could explain Cheung's.) Was he grooming just prior to meeting his death?
In any case, this is just one small path through the lushness of 2046. Knowledge of the prior films isn't required. It's an epic in itself—I love how the number signifies both a time (the year 2046) and a place (a hotel room). And to consider it along with the two previous titles makes this sublime, chronology-scrambling, beautifully obsessive experience even more so.
Settling the dinner bill afterward I was counting out the money, saying aloud, "Twenty, forty, sixty..."—stopping myself when I realized I had just said the name of the film.
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This post seems imperfect to me and I'll probably keep editing it as time passes, thoughts occur. (Appropriate for something about 2046!) It would even make sense to create a separate 2046 blog...I'll leave that to someone else.