Aakansha’s review published on Letterboxd:
"In the old days, if someone had a secret they didn't want to share... you know what they did? They went up a mountain, found a tree, carved a hole in it, and whispered the secret into the hole. Then they covered it with mud. And leave the secret there forever."
It had been on mind this past few weeks but Wong Kar-Wai's birthday pushed me to finally try & see. And well, setting the opening credits against a strong, bold red color is a surefire way to lock my attention, especially now, when I quit movies after ten minutes or so.
It's paced really well, it has a short running time but doesn't feel that way yet it doesn't feel slow as well - nothing feels crammed in or unexplored, & everything flows. I still would've liked to have seen Mr. Chow's cute little reaction on being made sesame syrup, though. Tony Leung, once again, embodying a precious character is the way to my heart. When he runs in the rain to bring Maggie Cheung's Mrs. Chan an umbrella, so she wouldn't have to walk in the rain, ahhh I just...💗💓💗
The spouses are rarely shown on screen, and never with their faces whether it's interacting with their person or neighbour's: that instantly establishes their fading connection to the leads, and emotionally distant, possibly cold persona. In a way also saying, it doesn't matter how or who they are, it's not about them; they are quite literally and figuratively out of the picture haha. While Mrs. Chan, & Mr. Chows' actions, marriage & life keep mirroring.
The innocent glances, little moments between them feel too real, intimate & personal to look at. Heightened by the voyeuristic angles & blocking, that also provoke the sense of—and match— society actively watching them and starting gossip. Although feeling present in scenes, the editing style plays out like memories. Letting us in on some key life moments, keeping us out on others, easily moving from one to next. Also, the slow motion scenes are art – such controlled, phenomenal direction!
The last few minutes made me want to scream because—and this is very much in line with film's obsession with coincidences—I was literally in Cambodia two years ago this time, spending proper first day in Phnom Penh on 17th. And waking up early on 21st in Siem Reap, taking our place amongst the crowd, in the best available spots left for THE view/shot - everyone just waiting for the famous Angkor Wat sunrise that didn't happen (which was amusing even back then). But soon chancing upon a post about Chester Bennington's death. Something that was sad & unexpected by itself, hit even more as we (my sister and I etc) had taken a dive into nostalgia to remember Linkin Park songs just the previous or so morning.
To come back to that film scene, Imma (almost) quote the end titles:
"The past is something she could see, but not touch."
That scene was stunning (!!), it was also exhilarating, weird and painful to sit through it because of where I'm at in life? I almost miss being of that age - 18 & considering myself young enough to perceive things to be met moving forward in life, instead of being crushed by the pressure of romanticised 20s & fear of not living it up & wasting them. To be able to look at these years from the outside mystery & distance, because rn with every passing day I feel my youth slipping away. You know, how Su holds herself when they practise him leaving? Yeah that was me watching that scene lol.
Such an incredible film and me going off on a tangent once again. But that's all, folks, on today's episode of: Aakansha gets unnecessarily personal.