2046 ★★★

Not for the first time, I came to the end of a Wong Kar-Wai film slightly puzzled by what I'd just witnessed. There's so much to admire here; gorgeous cinematography, clever linking of multiple plotlines, smart callbacks to In the Mood for Love (and Days of Being Wild, I assume, although I haven't seen that one yet). For some reason, though, I found myself feeling oddly detached from it, and none of the events that played out on screen really held any emotional weight for me.

Until a couple of months ago, In the Mood for Love was the only WKW film I'd seen, and it wasn't until I saw it for a second time that I realised just how great it is. That makes me wary of making too many assumptions about his other work based on a single viewing. Having now seen (and very much enjoyed) Chungking Express, and then watched (and pretty much hated) Fallen Angels, I'm not really any closer to deciding whether I'm a fan of the director or not.

The science fiction element of 2046, which is what allows me to tentatively tie it into my themed June watching, is an interesting addition to a film that otherwise sits firmly in the real world; Chow Mo-wan's struggle to adapt to new relationships after the events of the previous film is understandable, but leaves him a rather unsympathetic figure at times. The flashes into the futuristic world of his novel seem designed to provide a little escape from reality at first, but Chow's life bleeds into his art, and the links between his story and his life pay off cleverly. That's the most I really got from 2046 though - "huh, that was pretty clever". A significant step down from In the Mood for Love, but one I hope to find more depth in some other time.

Le Voyage Dans La June

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