Sunday, August 11, 2013

914. Cheun gwong tsa sit/Happy Together (1997)


Running Time: 97 minutes
Directed By: Wong Kar-Wai
Written By: Wong Kar-Wai
Main Cast: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Leslie Cheung, Chen Chang
Click here to view the trailer

"I CAN'T SEE ME LOVIN' NOBODY BUT YOU..."

Just so everyone's aware, I had myself a nice, little four day weekend this week, which is why I've been able to bang out these movies so quickly. I'm back to work tomorrow and therefore, the pace my lessen. Also, while we're on the subject of my work schedule, I USUALLY work at 7am and get home around 4pm. What I usually end up doing is watching movies at night, after my wife goes to bed and writing the reviews the following day, when I get home from work. Don't think I've ever specified the details of my schedule before...Anyway...


Caught "Happy Together" this morning via the streaming portion of Netflix. The film is directed by Wong Kar-Wai ("In the Mood for Love") and tells the story of a gay couple, on vacation in Argentina, trying to sort out their relationship and "start over". It's a rocky relationship. There's definitely love there, but with the love comes a fair share of arguments, fights and disagreements. There's the more responsible Lai Yiu-fai (Leung) and the more flamboyant, childish Ho-Po Wing (Cheung). Once in Argentina, they plan to see Iguazu waterfalls together, but they break up before they make it there. Fai settles in Buenos Aires, where he gets a job at a nightclub. One evening, Ho visits the nightclub and memories are dredged back up. Ho has a new boyfriend and Fai, still not healed from the break-up, is forced to deal with an overflow of emotion all over again. After a while, the two begin talking and it becomes apparent that Ho's new boyfriend is abusive. One evening, Ho shows up at Fai's door, severely beaten and Fai can't help but help him. At the hospital, Ho's hands are bandaged to the point where he must rely on Fai to help him with everything. Ho stays with Fai at his dingy little apartment and Ho is hopeful that the two can, once again, start over. Fai stays strong and resists the temptations of Ho, however. Fai eventually gets a job at a restaurant where he meets Chang (Chang), a straight man who becomes a good friend.


"Open Your Eyes' was really good and "Return of the Jedi" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" were good enough, but finally something stellar comes along this season, after watching eleven movies. Of course, I'm talking about this movie - "Happy Together" - an absolutely fantastic piece of work by a director who's proving he's worthy of me keeping my eyes on - Wong Kar-Wai. I'll even say that this is EASILY better than my last viewing of a Kar-Wai film, "In the Mood for Love" (which landed on the "Ten Worth Mentioning" section of my last TOP 20 list). It's might be hard for me to explain why I actually took to this movie so well, but I promise to try my best. As movie fanatics, we all know that wonderful feeling we get when we're watching something we really like. That feeling, where we're able to detach ourselves from the dialogue and action for just a millisecond, long enough to say to ourselves, "This is REALLY good". If you've seen a lot of movie and if you're picky, like me, then you know that feeling doesn't come along THAT often and when it does, it's one of the greatest feelings a movie fan can experience. It's the special feeling of seeing a movie that you just know is going to become a favorite, that you just know you're going to see dozens and dozens more times, for the first time. It's one of those movies that makes you want to consume as many more movies as you can possibly find, so that you can experience that feeling all over again and hopefully find another one and another one. "Happy Together" gave me all of these feelings.

The film was beautifully shot, flawlessly scripted, perfectly cast, provided a unique mood/atmosphere and transcended cultural barriers. It doesn't matter where you live, be it Hong Kong, Argentina, Pennsylvania, London, British Columbia or Los Angeles, this is a movie that didn't speak to a certain cultural consortium, but rather spoke to everyone, because we could all relate to the characters. Within literally minutes, Wong Kar-Wai forced us to care for these characters as if they were our personal friends, made it easy for us to feel their pain and relate to their situations. We understood every tear that our characters shed, every smile they cracked and just by looking at the faces and listening to the perfectly scored notes, we could feel every sad thought and disappointed reaction. We've all been in relationships, most of us know what it's like to have our hearts broken and even if you've never been involved in a bad, argumentative relationship, you've been privy to one and those feelings and actions are very familiar. "Happy Together" puts those feelings, reactions, actions and emotions to film flawlessly.


I'm glad that Wong Kar-Wai didn't harp on the gay thing too much, like "Brokeback Mountain" did, for instance. In Ang Lee's movie the fact that the two men were gay was half the story, whereas in Kar-Wai's picture, it's never really brought up. We just happen to be watching a film about a relationship, where the two members of said relationship happen to be both men. Speaking of the two men, how amazing is Tony Leung? I've only seen two movies with the guy and already I'm prepared to put him on a list with the rest of my favorite actors. He's too good to be true, yet he is true; pouring out true emotion after true emotion and playing it all so perfectly. The score was great too and I love how Kar-Wai always seems to pick a certain theme for his movies and allows it to play over and over (like "In the Mood for Love"). I really can't wait to see the rest of his filmography after watching this and I can say that "Happy Together" is definitely a "must see" movie. See it...now.

RATING: 10/10  Finally a big '10' and I can tell you now that until something better comes along, THIS is the #1 spot of my next TOP 20...hands down.

MOVIES WATCHED: 712
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 289

August 11, 2013  4:46pm

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on hitting a '10'.. and not just a 10, but a 'big 10' no less.
    I liked it, but not quite as much as you did. It was the being (OK, occasionally) nasty to each other I disliked, but, hey, people are often like that.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, people ARE like that, so to me this was a perfect example of how real and nasty people can be.

      Delete

SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #65: Les nuits de la pleine lune/Full Moon in Paris (1984)

Running Time: 100 minutes Directed By: Eric Rohmer Written By: Eric Rohmer Main Cast: Pascale Ogier, Tcheky Karyo, Fabrice Luchini,...