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.