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Hong Kong 1997
Directed by
Wong Kar-Wai
96 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Happy Together

Loosely based on a story by Manuell Puig, Happy Together sees Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung as estranged gay lovers living in Buenos Aires having left Hong Kong in an attempt to "start again". Wong picked up Best Director prize at Cannes for this film, but don't expect much from the narrative, which is largely devoted to two unhappy souls abusing themselves and each other in a few circumscribed locations (although shot in Buenos Aires, Wong realised when he got there that he didn't know enough about the city to incorporate it in any meaningful way).

As is so often the case with the director's open-ended way of working, Wong has difficulty with the film's closure but what carries this film is its ravishing visual style thanks to regular Wong cinematographer Chris Doyle and art director and editor Willam Chang, underscored by an eclectic choice of music including Frank Zappa, Astor Piazzolla and that much-used Turtles' song.

DVD Extras: A making-of featurette, Buenos Aires Zero Degree, shot in the style of Wong is an informative look into the film's production and Wong's approach to film-making. Also included is an audio commentary by Stephen Teo and the theatrical trailer. The packaging incorporates a short academic overview of Wong's films.

Available from: Madman




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