Hong Kong | 126 MINUTES
A companion piece to In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar Wai's 2046 is even dreamier, more romantic, and more dazzling than its predecessor. The theme, once again, is memory and regret; the technique is totally expressionistic and personal. Exquisitely filmed, laustrophobic interiors become the stage upon which the writer-turned-gigolo Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai, reprising his character from Mood) dallies in love with four beautiful women, losing one after the other. In the end, this compulsive seducer-whose Clark Gable moustache makes him all the more irresistible-is left with nothing. The action takes place on December 24, jumping from 1966 to 1969, with a leap into a fantasy-future. Besides Hong Kong's leading man Leung, the cast is all-star: Gong Li plays a tragic gambler who wears a signature black glove; young mainland China actress Ziyi Zhang (House of Flying Daggers) is luminous as an expensive call girl who falls hard for Chow; singer-actress Faye Wong injects a note of humor as the hotel owner's starry-eyed daughter, smitten with a Japanese beau; and Carina Lau cameos as a goodtime girl who is murdered. These mini-stories are framed by a futuristic train that goes to the year 2046, from where no one ever returns-just as the characters realize that, in love, it is impossible to revisit the past. 2046, by the way, is also the date of Hong Kong's final integration into China.