1997 Hong Kong film
Happy Together ( 春光乍洩 ) is a 1997 Hong Kong romantic drama film directed by Wong Kar-wai starring Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-wai, depicting their disruptive romanticism. The english entitle is inspired by the Turtles ‘ 1967 song of the lapp mention and is covered by Danny Chung on the film ‘s soundtrack. The chinese entitle ( previously used for Michelangelo Antonioni ‘s Blowup ) is an idiomatic formula suggesting “ the exposure of something cozy ”. [ 3 ] [ 4 ] The movie was regarded as one of the best LGBT films in the New Queer Cinema bowel movement and received plus reviews and screened at several movie festivals such as the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival ; it was nominated for the Palme d’Or and won Best Director at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ]

In 2016, the film was ranked the 3rd greatest LGBT film of all fourth dimension in the british Film Institute poll. [ 8 ] In 2018, it was ranked the 71st greatest foreign-language film of all time in the BBC pate. [ 9 ]

diagram [edit ]

Ho Po-Wing and Lai Yiu-Fai are a brave match from Hong Kong with a disruptive kinship marked by frequent separations and reconciliations. They visit Argentina together but break up after they become lost while traveling to visit the Iguazu Falls. Without the money to fly home, Lai begins to work as a doorkeeper at a tango cake in Buenos Aires, while Ho lives licentiously, much seen by Lai with different men. After Lai accuses Ho of spending all of his money and stranding him in Argentina, Ho steals from one of his acquaintances and is sternly beat. Lai allows Ho to live with him in his little lease room and cares for his injuries. They attempt to reconcile their relationship, though it is marred by common intuition and jealousy. Lai loses his job at the tango bar after beating the man who injured Ho. He begins working at a chinese restaurant where he befriends Chang, a taiwanese colleague. Later, Ho and Lai have a concluding argument where Lai refuses to return Ho ‘s passport. Ho moves out of the apartment when he fully recovers. Sometime thereafter, Chang leaves Buenos Aires to continue his travels. Having ultimately earned enough money to fly home, Lai decides to visit the Iguazu Falls entirely before he leaves. meanwhile, Ho returns to the empty apartment, brokenhearted, realizing that Lai is gone for good. Lai returns to Hong Kong but has a stopover in Taipei. coincidentally, he ends up eating at a food stall in a night grocery store run by Chang ‘s kin. He steals a photograph of Chang from the booth, saying that flush though he does n’t know if he will always see Chang again, he knows where to find him .

hurl [edit ]

acquittance [edit ]

Box office [edit ]

During its Hong Kong theatrical performance passing, Happy Together made HK $ 8,600,141 at the box position. [ 10 ] Happy Together besides had a limited theatrical run in North America through Kino International, where it grossed US $ 320,319. [ 11 ]

censoring [edit ]

The producers of the movie considered censoring the film, specifically the afford sex scene for sealed audiences. [ 12 ] Posters for the movie featuring the two leads amply clothed with their legs intertwined was banned from public places in Hong Kong and removed all together before the movie ‘s exhaust. [ 13 ]

home Media [edit ]

Kino International released the film on DVD and Blu-ray on June 8, 2010. This dismissal has since gone out of print. [ 14 ] The film was picked up by the Criterion Collection and released on March 23, 2021 on Blu-ray in a solicitation of 7 Wong Kar-wai films. [ 15 ]

critical reception [edit ]

The movie was by and large well received in Hong Kong and has been since heavily analyzed by many chinese and Hong Kongese scholars and film critics such as Rey Chow ( 周蕾 ) and 陳劍梅. [ 16 ] [ 17 ] A Hong Kong film review site called it an “ elliptic, erratic experiment ” that is “ arrant Wong Kar-Wai, which is equal parts longing, regret, and pathetic beauty ” and applauding it for its filming. [ 18 ] due to the external realization that the film received, it was reviewed in respective major U.S. publications. Edward Guthmann, of the San Francisco Chronicle, gave the film an ecstatic review, lavishing praise on Wong for his innovative filming and directorial approach ; whilst naming Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs amongst those who would have been impressed by his film. [ 19 ] Stephen Holden, of the New York Times, said it was a more coherent, heartfelt movie than Wong ‘s former films, without losing the stylism and brashness of his earlier efforts. [ 20 ] Derek Elley for Variety gave an overall positive follow-up despite its miss of plot, calling it Wong ‘s “ most analogue and mature work for some time ”. Elley praised the mise-en-scène, music, and William Chang ‘s production design. He emphasized that Christopher Doyle was the “ real asterisk ” of the film for his farinaceous and high contrast filming. [ 12 ] Both Elley and Andrew Thayne for asian Movie Pulse stated that both Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai excelled as the main characters in the film. [ 21 ] however, Jonathan Rosenbaum gave the movie a desegregate review in the Chicago Reader. Rosenbaum, in a summary of the film, criticised it for having a undefined plotline and chastised Wong ‘s “ lurching about ”. [ 22 ] In Box Office Magazine, Wade Major gave the film one of its most damaging reviews, saying that it offered “ little in the way of stylistic or narrative progress, although it should please his core fans. ” He deprecated Wong ‘s filming, labelling it “ random experiment ” and went on to say this was “ unbearably long-winded ” due to the miss of narrative. [ 23 ] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a “ fresh ” approval rat of 82 % based on 39 reviews, with an average rate of 7.4 out of 10. The site ‘s critical consensus reads : “ Happy Together’ s strong sense of vogue complements its slice of life love floor, evening if the narrative slogs. ” [ 24 ] On Metacritic, it has a burden average grade of 70 out of 100 based on 17 reviews, indicating “ broadly friendly reviews. ” [ 25 ]

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Awards and nominations [edit ]

In 1997, Wong Kar-wai was already well known in the artwork house Chinese film populace because of the success of his former films : Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express, and Ashes of Time. however, by winning the Cannes festival prize for Best Director for Happy Together, his first major award, Wong was given a limelight on the international stage. [ 26 ]

music [edit ]

In this film, Wong Kar-wai moved away from his previous centralization of American and british music, rather, by and large favouring confederacy american music. This transnationalism “ decentralizes America ” and forms raw connections between cultures that are not conventionally linked ( Hong Kong and Argentina ). The first sung of the film, Caetano Veloso ‘s cover of “ Cucurrucucú paloma “, a deplorable ballad about a valet waiting for his lover to return, plays when the couple breaks up for the first time in the film. here, the Iguazu Falls are seen for the first time and it is besides the first shot of the film that is in color. The song extends Fai ‘s thoughts, where he is imagining the waterfall, which he associated with Po-Wing. His sadness and lovesickness thereby become apparent in this south american set up. [ 27 ]

musical motifs [edit ]

The Frank Zappa song “ Chunga ‘s Revenge ” is played throughout the movie “ emphasizing [ Fai ‘s ] unmanageable relationship with [ Po-Wing ]. ” The brassy guitar chorus represents Po-Wing ‘s “ explosive, aureate nature, ” which contrasts the drab cornet and slower beat representing Fai ‘s sensitivity and steadiness. This birdcall is besides linked to Lai ‘s forlornness and his longing to be “ glad together ” while showing the deviation between the two characters and the increasing emotional distance between them as the film progresses. [ 27 ] Astor Piazzolla ‘s “ Prologue ( Tango Apasionado ), ” “ Finale ( Tango Apasionado ), ” and “ Milonga for Three ” and alike bandoneon songs play when the couple is both together and apart, representing their relationship. These songs play during romanticist scenes such as the taxi scene and the tango in the kitchen. however, it is besides played after Fai and Po-Wing break up for the death clock and Po-Wing dances the tango with a random valet while thinking approximately when he danced with Fai. The last time this song is played is when Fai reaches the waterfall and the lapp fritter of the Iguazu Falls at the begin of the film is seen but this meter with the “ Finale ” song. This “ eulogizes that kinship ” as Po-Wing breaks down in Fai ‘s erstwhile apartment, realizing that he has abandoned their relationship because Fai left behind the lamp while Fai mourns their relationship at the falls. [ 27 ] Wong Kar-wai discovered Astor Piazollo ‘s music when he bought his CDs in the Amsterdam airport on his way to Buenos Aires to film this movie. [ 28 ] “ Happy Together, ” the Turtles ‘ song covered by Danny Chung, is the end song to be played in the film, when Fai is on the train in Taipei. This birdcall is used to subvert westerly music tropes that use it “ to celebrate a budding romance or as an dry comment on the miss of such a romanticism. ” It besides shows that “ Lai is at peace with their relationship, making it a crucial narrative device denoting the meaning of the film. ” [ 27 ] While interpretations vary, Wong Kar-wai has said that :

“In this film, some audiences will say that the title seems to be very cynical, because it is about two persons living together, and at the end, they are just separate. But to me, happy together can apply to two persons or apply to a person and his past, and I think sometimes when a person is at peace with himself and his past, I think it is the beginning of a relationship which can be happy, and also he can be more open to more possibilities in the future with other people.”[29]

Themes and interpretations [edit ]

Nationality, belong, and cultural identity [edit ]

At the identical begin of the movie, Wong includes shots of Fai ‘s british National Overseas Passport as a way to indicate to the hearing that this film will be dealing with issues of nationality. [ 30 ]

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The Handover of Hong Kong [edit ]

Released in May 1997, intentionally before the handover of Hong Kong from the british to China on 30 June 1997 after 100 years of colonial principle, the film represents the uncertainty of the future felt by Hongkongers at the time. [ 31 ] [ 3 ] The film ‘s subtitle : “ A report About Reunion ” besides implies that the film would comment on the handover. [ 32 ] The inclusion of the date in the open and the news broadcast of Deng Xiaoping ‘s end on 20 February 1997 serve to place the consultation explicitly in the time period immediately before the Handover of Hong Kong. Some have suggested that the English title of the film is in relative to the doubt around if Hong Kong and China would be “ felicitous together ” after their reunion. [ 32 ]

In one rendition, Po-Wing and Fai represent two sides of Hong Kong that can not be reconciled : Po-Wing stays in Buenos Aires without a pass, like Hong Kong taiwanese people who do n’t have a real british pass, representing an “ endless exile and diaspora ”. Fai, however, is able to see the waterfall and go to Taiwan but it is not shown whether Fai is able to reconcile with his forefather or not. Since Po-Wing wants his recommendation, meaning he wants to leave Buenos Aires, both main characters show that they feel uncertain about their place in the diaspora. [ 33 ] A different interpretation stated that Fai, a homosexual man, represents the sociable freedoms that Hongkongers possess and the runaway son who travelled to the other side of the universe : Buenos Aires in the film and Britain historically. But, this son ( Hong Kong and Fai ) “ must return and reconcile his differences with antique China, ” which is represented by Fai ‘s beget. Chang here, represents Taiwan, a country with a exchangeable past as Hong Kong with China, who comforts Fai ( Hong Kong ), showing him that there is hope for the future. This hope is demonstrated through the increasing saturation of the film as Fai ‘s life becomes more and more stable. [ 21 ]

Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Buenos Aires [edit ]

Wong ‘s option of Buenos Aires is particular because it is the antipode of Hong Kong, meaning it is on the opposite side of the world and in an reverse time. This had been interpreted as a seat where Fai and Po-Wing were looking for the antonym of home and Hong Kong. They do not describe this as a political emblem but preferably a interview of cultural identity and the definitions of “ home plate, belonging, and migrancy ”. [ 32 ] Another rendition viewed the scenes of Hong Kong scene top down not as a political fable either, but a way to show how far the characters were from their roots. [ 30 ] similarly, the composition of shift from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires interestingly emphasizes their similarities preferably than their differences when compared to the shots of Hong Kong in Wong Kar-wai ‘s previous films. Despite being on the other side of the earth and army for the liberation of rwanda from their “ home ”, the copulate experiences the same problems, implying the inevitability of their relationship ‘s deterioration. By emphasizing the similarities between these two places, Wong emphasizes the homelessness and lack of belong of both Fai and Po-Wing. [ 32 ]

confinement [edit ]

Another theme of the film is the sense of confinement and claustrophobia that accompanies the sense of non-belonging of Fai and Po-Wing. This is conveyed through the precarious hand-held television camera, the small size poor fall, and smuttiness of Fai ‘s apartment, the kitchen, alleys, the tango bar, the restaurant kitchen, and the public bathroom corridor. This confinement is besides manifested through Po-Wing ‘s restriction to Fai ‘s apartment because his injured hands prevent him from taking manage of himself. former, Po-Wing is besides confined to Buenos Aires because Fai refuses to return his pass. Yet, the imagination of the Iguazu Falls contrasts the theme of confinement with the symbolic receptiveness of possibility and hope of Po-Wing and Fai ‘s relationship. [ 32 ]

marginalization [edit ]

One rendition explained that the miss of a sense of belonging due to a combination of their bare subspecies, sex, and language [ 30 ] in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong prevented Po-Wing and Fai from forming a stable relationship. This instability is in part shown through the imbalance of the television camera in some shots, relating to the characters ‘s inability to find their own place in the global. [ 21 ] Neither place is welcoming and the pair experiences the like problems in both places. [ 31 ] The marginalization of Fai specifically is demonstrated by the means he visually can not blend into the herd and environments in Buenos Aires in comparison to Taipei. It is merely in Taipei that Fai smiles, and it is implied that he feels a sense of belong as he visits the Chang syndicate attic denounce and takes the caravan. The movie does not definitively show that Fai returns to Hong Kong, making it possible that he stayed in Taipei, where he feels like he belongs and begins to have hope for the future. [ 30 ]

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The Iguazu Falls and the lamp [edit ]

The importance of the Iguazu Falls is established early on in the film when it is shown on the lamp that Po-Wing bought for Fai and is said to be the stallion argue the couple choose to go to Buenos Aires in the first gear stead. [ 32 ] The real number waterfall is then shown in Fai ‘s imaginings after the first dissolution as the inaugural changeable in semblance. It is besides shot from a bird’s-eye view and given unrealistic blue and green color, giving it a supernatural ocular effect. One scholar interpreted the representation of the falls as a contemplation on the enormousness of mother nature ‘s might and the unpredictable nature of the future since the end of the waterfall is imperceivable. It besides evokes a palpate of powerlessness in the face of nature and the future, paralleling the inevitability of the deterioration of Po-Wing and Fai ‘s relationship [ 17 ] Another learner interpreted the waterfall itself as a symbol of Po-Wing and Fai ‘s relationship because “ their heat is indeed torrential, destructive, always pounding away as it falls capitulum advancing and spirals down towards an unsealed end ”. [ 34 ] The falls are seen throughout the film on the lamp in Fai ‘s apartment, representing the continued promise and investment in his relationship with Po-Wing. however, when Fai last visits the Iguazu Falls but without Po-Wing, leaving the lamp behind, Po-Wing understands that Fai has finally abandoned their relationship. Both Fai and Po-Wing mourn their relationship by looking at the waterfall, Fai seeing it in reality, and Po-Wing after having fixed the lamp ‘s rotating mechanism. [ 27 ]

oddity [edit ]

The homosexuality of the film is highly contested. On one hand, it is characterized as “ one of the best films chronicling brave love ever made ” because of the universality of the problems that Fai and Po-Wing face in their relationship that exist in any relationship no matter the gender of the participants. [ 35 ] Many scholars and film critics agree that while being brave is not the subject of the film, its portrayal of gay romance is naturalistic. [ 36 ] The film was praised for not casting the characters on gendered lines, questioning their manfulness, and showing the complexity of gay men as social beings and individuals. [ 7 ] Wong Kar-wai explained that :

“ In fact, I do n’t like people to see this film as a homosexual film. It ‘s more like a history about homo relationships and somehow the two characters involved are both men. normally I hate movies with labels like ‘gay film, ’ ‘art film ‘ or ‘commercial film. ‘ There is only adept film and bad film. ” [ 7 ]

On the other hand, some scholars argue that one of the reasons that Po-Wing and Fai ended up in Buenos Aires is because they are homosexual and are frankincense exiled fagot men. [ 27 ] Jeremy Tambling, an writer and critic, noted that the universalization of the gay relationship is not a positivist aspect of the film because it erases the specificity of their experiences and the film ‘s root of marginalization. [ 3 ] Furthermore, the film broadly portrays neo-Confucian values of unvoiced cultivate, frugality, and normativity, highlighting its lack of oddity and vehemence of heteronormativity. Fai is rewarded for following these values, as he works constantly, cooks, cares for others, wants to reconcile with his founder, and saves his money, while Po-Wing lives in surfeit through his numerous sexual encounters, spend, lack of traditional function, and flamboyance. At the goal of the movie, Fai is able to reach his address, Hong Kong/Taiwan and the Iguazu Falls, while Po-Wing is stuck in Buenos Aires. Chang besides represents these values, as he works hard at the restaurant, saves enough money for his stumble to the ‘end of the world, ‘ and has a loving family to return to in Taipei. The characters who conform to this normativity are rewarded while others are punished, thus emphasizing a “ straight ” narrative. [ 37 ]

bequest [edit ]

Since its publish, Happy Together has been described as the “ most acclaim gay Asian film, ” remaining in the public conscience. [ 38 ] south african singer, songwriter, and actor Nakhane cited Happy Together as one of their three darling films of all prison term. [ 39 ] James Laxton, the cameraman for the critically acclaimed film Moonlight ( 2016 ), explained in a Time article that he was inspired by Happy Together and another Wong ‘s employment, In the Mood for Love ( 2000 ). The use of natural and ambient light mix with little warm fill lights, american samoa well as touches of color enlightened Laxton to create a “ dream-like sense of reality ” in his movie. More specifically, he cited the scene where Chiron ‘s mother scolds him and the pink light emanated from her bedroom as particularly inspired by Wong Kar-wai ‘s works. [ 40 ] The 2006 russian situation comedy Happy Together took its name from the name of the movie. [ 41 ]

At the 2017 Golden Horse Awards, Happy Together was re-screened in celebration of the film ‘s twentieth anniversary. The independent promotional post horse for the award ceremony used a screenshot from the film of the main actors ampere well as shots of the Iguazu Falls. [ 42 ]

References [edit ]

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