Happy Together ★★★★★

Try to describe the entire array of emotions that a Kar-Wai Wong feature encompasses throughout. You can't. You always end up falling short, running out of words, and by the time you're done, you realize you've described less then half of everything elicited. Literally translated as "Exposed Skin Together" (gotta love the sentimentalism behind a great number of English international titles), the intricately human auteur majestically encompasses a relationship between two individuals doomed to fail since its very foundations, unapproved under God's eyes and self-destructed by their clashing relationship ideals.

I just wanted to throw in a hypothesis regarding the decisions behind the color schemes used throughout. The colorless domination of the first act is not inherently related to Buenos Aires (excellent real shooting locations and a top-notch setting), but to the current emotional state of the couple, played by two big, bold Hong Kong talents. Notice how color kicks in exactly when they decide to "start over", whatever that means for both parties. Nevertheless, there is almost always a sepia tone invading the frame, and if not, there is always a yellow object in the frame: architecture, furniture, morning sunlight, walls, sacks, lamps, oil, beer, city lights, eggs, flames, a t-shirt, a sweater, a trashcan, a leather jacket, a toothbrush, a cab, a passport, distant flowers on the background of a horse-racing track or a small television set. There is a single exception to this: a pool of blood and the spectacular falls. I have always related the color yellow with sadness or a feverish state, and the sepia tone with either existentialism or a dystopian future. There is a constantly feverish representation of relationship "exposure", especially from Lai Yiu-fai, physical, emotional and spiritual. In a relationship, everything is exposed and, hence put in danger, but the color remains not only during their second attempt of reconstruction, but also when hope is regained through other events.

The controversial Cannes release of 1997 that got its proper praise helped the auteur to climb a step further and reach an even higher level of cinematic perfection three years after, but in the meantime, we get an impressionistic look at a city through Doyle's lens that contributes to alienation as much as they are contributing each other to reach that unfortunate state, emotionally arresting but aesthetically glorious and tremendously accomplished.

Did I say the soundtrack was a blast?


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