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HAPPY TOGETHER

Hong Kong, 1997 (MIFF 1997, Regional)

Director: Wong Kar-wai

Hong Kong maverick Wong Kar-wai mixes up a heady brew of race, culture and sexuality in Happy Together, his latest film dealing with a gay Chinese couple residing in Buenos Aires. The director's star has certainly risen both at home and abroad and this simply told but hip, colourful and superbly lensed pic is a memo­rable production powered by strong emotions and a vacillating romance.

A more mature work than the fragmented Chungking Express, Happy Together employs the director's loose plotting and the narrative is pared down to concenttate on the central char­acters, the lovers Ho and Lai. The on-again. off-again relationship the pair 'enjoy' is at the core of Happy Together, their interaction evoking abstract feelings and impelling an audience to reflect on their own similar involvements.

Quite metaphysical at junctures, Wong Kar-wai's film illustrates, in a fractured way, that Buenos Aires is a topsy-turvy version of Hong Kong, where social norms, emotions and rela­tionships are inverted and none of the familiar safety nets of home exist. The switch from monochrome to colour that occurs a third of the way through can be viewed as one of the direc­tor's contrary signature strokes and a visual metaphor that could be extrapolated to encom­pass the entire film.

See also...

HAPPY TOGETHER (M)

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LABYRINTH OF DREAMS

Sogo Ishii's Labyrinth Of Dreams is radically removed from Angel Dust, his last film seen in Australia (MIFF 1995). However their polar differ­ences indicate the breadth and scope of Ishii's ... More »

PRIVATE WARS

In this intensely personal documentary, film­maker Nick Deocampo traces the tumultuous public history of the Philippines through its dev­astating effect on the private history of his own life ... More »

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