2046 ★★★★½

You almost wonder what happened to Wong Kar-Wai that made him so drawn to consistently making films about loneliness and sadness. Even when his characters have loads of friends and social interaction, they always remain cut off and alone. 2046 is like a distillation of this, being the Wong film with perhaps the most lonely and melancholic tone. The story actually contains many narratives, which interlink and crossover fluidly, drawing on characters from Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love but also providing new ones and, in one arc, a sci-fi setting. Time is an irrelevance to how these stories are told, with the chronology designed not to make logical sense but instead find emotional connections. Characters become cyphers of one another, with the pretence of In the Mood for Love expanded to include characters sharing names, fictional representations of other characters, and parallels drawn between people. The playboy aspect of Days of Being Wild returns, but now it isn't used as a pretext before the lead's future endeavours, instead it's used to escape from the mistakes of the past. Time might move forward, but memories are forever stuck in the present, and Wong's characters never quite escape them. This was one of the first films I ever logged on Letterboxd (back in 2014) and I'm happy to see it still holds up as a complex web of loneliness in a world of love.

Also, the cast of 2046 - Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li - are all amazing.

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