Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Together

Movie Name: Happy Together
Year of Release: 1997
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung, Chen Chang, Gregory Dayton
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Director Wong Kar Wai continued his critically acclaimed streak of the 90s, with "Happy Together" which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to great acclaim (and won the director the award for best director of the year). The film focuses on the story of Ho Po-wing and Lai Yiu-fai, a couple who arrives in Argentina for vacations (from Hong Kong) and who slowly drifts away. As both become disenchanted with each other, Yiu-fai starts working at a tango bar in order to get money to fly back home, whereas Po-wing drifts continuously into a destructive mode. The couple tries to get together, but ultimately their differences drive them apart.
Wong Kar Wai is one of the most singular voices in cinema, mixing a highly stylized view of the world, with a romanticism that makes his features feel simultaneously retro and very conceptual (which reached fantastic heights with "In the Mood for Love"). "Happy Together" follows the central couple through a patchy relationship, in a foreign soil, allowing for the director to create indelible set pieces, where these lovers in a strange land are desperately trying to call each other home. The central performances from Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung are fantastic, bringing to life these two different men, who can't escape each other, until there's nothing holding them together. The cinematography from Christopher Doyle is stunning, as is the music from Danny Chung (which features songs from Caetano Veloso). A great film from a very talented director.