|Happy Together (1997)
||[May. 27th, 2006|10:19 pm]
Director: Wong Kar Wai |
Duration: 96 Minutes
When it comes to the cinematic world of Wong Kar Wai I am still a novice. I watched his film Chungking Express for the first time almost three years ago and have watched it with various friends since then three or four times, but for his other films, In the Mood for Love, Days of Being Wild and even 2046 I have yet to watch them. However, after viewing Tony Leung Chiu Wai’s excellent performance in Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung’s Cyclo, I wanted to see more of this actor’s work. Also, of course, I was familiar with the actor Leslie Cheung and his suicide, but as for his acting I had only viewed Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine. So having coming across Happy Together at my local DVD shop, I figured that I would give it a chance, and, as I felt after watching the films of many other directors that I kept on the backburner, I had to ask myself, Why did I wait so long to watch this film?
Happy Together tells the story of Lai Yiu Fai and Ho Po Wing’s on again and off again relationship. Much more serious and steadier than his lover, Lai Yiu Fai loves Ho Po Wing dearly, and even though the other man cheats on him, Lai Yiu Fai always takes Ho Po Wing back when the latter says “Let’s start over.” Hoping to rekindle their relationship, Fai and Po Wing travel to Argentina, however, while looking for waterfall called Iguazu, the couple becomes lost and Po Wing breaks off their relationship. Being completely broke, both Yiu Fai and Po Wing stay in Buenos Aires with the former working at a tango bar as a doorman and the latter earning his way through his way through his rich beneficiaries. Knowing that Yiu Fai still has feelings for him, Po Wing often flaunts himself with his multitudes of lovers and even calls Yiu Fai a couple of times to engage in more intimate activities, however, Yiu Fai, with the aid of strong alcohol, tries to keep himself from becoming ensnared by Po Wing once again. Yet when Po Wing comes to Yiu Fai one day with his face and hands bloodied, Yiu Fai finds himself once again in Po Wing’s grasp.
One of the things that I like the most about Happy Together is that while the lead couple is homosexual little is made of this. This is not a film that is trying one way or another to make an issue of gay relationships, all it is trying to do is display a relationship between two individuals and how it comes apart. Tony Leung does an extraordinary job of portraying someone who loves deeply and whose displays of affection are displayed quietly. Moments such as when Yiu Fai checks on Po Wing while he is sleeping are truly touching and the scene in which he “talks” into his friend Chang’s tape recorder is nearly heartbreaking. Combine these elements with an awesome soundtrack and some truly gorgeous cinematography by Christopher Doyle make Happy Together a truly wonderful film.