Thursday, May 08, 2008

2046

It is almost impossible to disentangle one-self from memories. It always begins at 'In the old times...' and forever, one just keeps hanging around near the past. It does not matter then whether the past was beautiful or sad, or whether we even had something there. It is a mad affinity, which just keeps you looking over the shoulder, dawdling, not wanting to go on. It is almost painful to disengage from this fantasy, and leave, to carry on with a life which will look beautiful only tomorrow, but is only a barren land today.

On watching the last part of this trilogy by Wong Kar Wai, I am simply overwhelmed. Whatever it was that had touched me in 'In the mood for love', was played out even more supremely in this sequel. Throughout watching of it, I felt such a deep sense of melancholy and tragedy, that it almost left me feeling yearning for a tragedy of my own. I felt a strong inclination to dabble a bit more in the recess of the mind - to indulge, so to say, in memories.

2046 begins where In the mood... left off. But the Chow of 2046 is so different from the Chow of the earlier film. He is only a shadow of himself, a shadow which is almost unrecognizable. Gone is the innocent charm, replaced by the shrewd look of a worldly man. I have heard some people say that it is not necessary to watch the earlier movie to appreciate this one. But I don't think I can imagine the movie playing out without the context of the other. It is only because I knew how deeply he was affected by his love in the prequel, that I can appreciate how estranged he now is, and how desperately he seeks to recapture the memories. By being around women who carry parts of his lady-love Su, but always failing to capture her or being satisfied with these parts. He continues to dwell in the memories, which he metaphorically calls 2046. It was in this hotel room number that he had secretly met Su in the earlier movie, and perhaps spent his happiest moments.

I did not mean to sound sentimental - I am at most moments far removed from this weakness. I think I should blame it on the expert technique of Wong Kar Wai - who took 4 years to create this splendid mood, and perhaps those years worked on me. There is something infinitely romantic about the love that fails and then wanders aimlessly. Infinitely romantic if it is given to the haunting music and red hues and empty eyes.

I also loved the science fiction angle of the movie. He used uncomplicated, obvious metaphors for which you do not have to go hunting to crack the code, and that's why they were even more appealing and striking.

But meeting love out of time and place, which is supposed to the tragedy of Chow: this is a tragedy of his own making. In each of his loves, time is not against him, and does little more than offer a little resistance. For the sake of the movie's potery, however, he choses melancholy, and that is all very well :-)

2 comments:

Alok said...

yearning for a tragedy of my own

hehe.. that's thinking like our guy Johannes, looking at everything "aesthetically"... :)

I really loved the science fiction part too... and the whole subplot about the android and the train, it was really great. With sounds effects and on big screen it is even more beautiful.

Madhuri said...

Oh yes, Johannes has made me lean over a bit to the aesthetic side :-) Not that I needed much persuasion.

Watching in theater: I know what you mean. A 26'' screen does not do it great justice. But if I wait for foreign language films to go to theater in India, I may never get a chance to watch them at all, but for the occasional film festivals. Even for those, Bombay falls far behind Delhi. Surprisingly, though, this year both Lives of Others and 4 Months, 3 weeks... were filmed in mainstream theaters in Bombay.