Just finished watching Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 (2004). It has an all star Asian cast–Tony Leung, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, and Kimura Takuya, Faye Wong and Maggie Cheung. The story is set in the 1960s in Hong Kong, although the fim was actually shot in Shanghai. A journalist and sci-fi writer, Chow Mo-wen (Tony Leung Chui-Wai), writes a novel about “2046” using the room number next to his hotel room as an apt title into the future–2046, that place in time where you can recapture lost memories and lost love. Many people go there and never come back, except for one man, Tak, (Kimura Takuya) , who went to 2046 to look for his loved one, but failing to find her, returned from 2046. Along the time travel back to present, he falls in love with an android attendant (Faye Wong) and asks her to come back with him but receives no reply. At first, he thought the reason for such is the delay in android’s reaction due to the long time journey but later, he realizes that the android never loved him; that she could be in love with someone else. Incidentally, 2046 is also the number of the hotel room where Chow Mo wen made love to his one and only love Su Lizhen. 2046 is actually the continuing story of Chow’s unconsummated love. Chow fell in love once with Su Lizhen, a married woman. (In the pre- and sequels, Days of Being Wild (1991) and In the Mood for Love (2006), the Chow-Su Lizhen romance is played up more). As a result of his frustrations, Chow has had affairs with several women who occupied Rm 2046 in Oriental hotel, including Bai Ling (Zhang Ziyi) who desperately loved him. Just when I thought Chow was falling in love with Bai Ling, when the latter asks if they start their relationship all over again (“Why can’t it be like before?”) , if she could borrow him for just that last night before she leaves for Singapore, Chow said ” This is simply something that I will never lend.” In fact, while he was nursing his sad fate over his lost love by gambling in casinos in Singapore, he was rescued by Black Spider (Gong Li) , a woman also bearing Su Lizhen’s name. Chow asked her to come with him but Su declined. Chow reflects ” I know why she declined. In love there is no substitute and she knew.” The scene ends with Chow going into his own 2046 and returning from there.
The movie was nominated in April 2004 for the Golden Palm Award at the 2004 Cannes film Festival. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the movie, because it isn’t anything like the super productions that leaves one in awe. Why do I like the movie? Of course, Kimura. my idol is there and though his role was short, he really exuded that “X factor” that really is so appealing on cam. I thought he was a great actor here–I love the voice; those expressive eyes; he had kissing scenes here though shadowed by dark lighting so couldn’t really gauge if he was a good kisser here. Kimura plays a Japanese businessman who falls in love with the eldest daughter, Wnag Jing wen (Faye Wong) of Oriental Hotel’s owner. Wang Sun, where he stayed while on a businesstrip in HK. Wang had objected to her daughter falling in love with a “Japanese” and because of anguish over the forbidden love, had to be placed in a mental institution. Wang ji wen also moved into 2046 before Bai Ling. Jing wen helped Chow in writing the novel 2046 which he later changed to 2047. Chow also helped in the correspondence of the two by having the mails from Japan coursed through him. There was a hint that he also fell in love with Jing-wen although the love never prospered because he realizedd that the girl “never loved him at all.” Jing-wen later leaves for Japan until we hear the hotel owner happily announcing that he was going to Japan to attend his daughter’s wedding. The daughter had asked Chow to change the ending of 2047 to a happier one.
Zhang Ziyi was really very beautiful here and her acting received raved reviews.
But I felt sympathy for Chow and I thought the development (or nondevelopment) of Chow’s character was great–thanks to Wong Kar Wai’s great directing. Tony Leung isn’t as handsome as Kimura, but he sure knows how to act and superbly portrayed the playboy- yet- desperately- seeking -the- love- of- his- life Su Lizhen Chow.
BTW, in the first part, there was reference to a certain bar girl Lu-LU who fell in love with a “Chinese-Filipino” from a rich family but who died young so left Lulu broken hearted…
Wish a greater role for Takuya Kimura in another Wong Kai War film.