2046: The year when you capture your lost memories - a Wong Kar Wai movie review

Sean_Victorydawn By Sean_Victorydawn, 26th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Romance

Ever thought of why old trees have cavities? Long long time ago when people had secrets they don't want to share, they'd climb a mountain to find the oldest tree. They carve a hole in the tree, and whisper their secret into this hole. After they cover the hole over with mud, that way no one would ever discover that secret. What sort of a secret can lie inside of a tree cavity to allow a wanderer to recapture his lost memories?

Recapturing Lost Memories with Time Travel

In this scripted story of an author, Hollywood's top recognized Chinese director Wong Kar Wai takes us to a journey of writing a novel. Reasons why we are told a story of penning a novel are explained through recalled memories of a Hong Kong journalist between the years 1966 to 1969. These memories are always involved with two women, who later become the characters of the author's novel called "2046". The author, played by actor Tony Leung, revisits a cheap motel which he has lived bittersweet memories with his ex-girlfriend, 2 years ago in 1967. The film takes place in 1969 in the same motel, once the novelist decided to stay there. To the room he and his ex-girlfriend shared memories, a young harlot settles in. This is when strange things will begin to occur.

As the opening lines from the voice over narration invites us to the future in the year 2046, we get to understand that the novel being written was initially a science fiction. Whereas driven by a serendipity that the name of his novel "2046" is also the room number in which he and his ex shared a romance in 1967, the novelist then enriches his novel by assigning himself as the sweetheart of a young harlot who moves into the room 2046. As destiny would have it when they meet, the harlot falls for him.

The Android Woman who is Sent from the Past

In the second phase of the story where we get to go to the future in 2046, the author aims to take a revenge from his ex-girlfriend who dumped him. Future is under the control of dreamers. Everybody who can dream and who can love, can travel into 2046 deep in their heart to recapture their lost memories. The author never goes there, 'cause he knows that if he goes once, he would never return to the present time, and would stay stuck in the future, suffering the memories of past. Instead of making himself gone, he sends his false-hearted ex to 2046 as an android. Living as an android, she doesn't have a heart. But a young man falls in love with her. She yearns for this young guy so much, but she can't express her feelings nor the look in her eyes could ever change; since she has no heart no more. She realizes that she deserves to be loved, and denies herself. She begins suffering of the love she remained lighthearted to the author 79 years ago. Witnessing her repentance, the author forgives his ex; and wants her back at the present time in 1969.

Resolution of the multi-layered story with uses of Symbolism

At the last phase the author gives his all to the novel he is writing, and turns to become the hero of his own novel, before his ex comes from the future to find him back. For his novel concludes with an ending that he doesn't have the heart to turn back to his ex, he depletes his inspirations to finish his novel without the memories of his past love. When she returns to him, he is not the same guy he knew of himself. So he stays indifferent to her.

Including narrated short segments not following a straight time line, director Wong Kar Wai uses a giddy and ravishing cinematography to link the segments with each other, where transitional images carry symbolic meanings. There are strong thematic messages that you'd get to see when a man leaves a woman truly loving him, the woman always gets back to her ex.

It's the viewers' duty to solve the puzzles from these symbols, to match the short stories with their attributions. There is a straightly evolving novel being written by the author as we watch his story filmed unstably going back and forward in time with a few use of flash-forwards. This highly confusing story concept offers adult audiences an original film with brilliant use of cinematography and camera language. And with my final word to the amazing and remarkable soundtrack of this film by Secret Garden's musics of Adagio, you should give this a view. Watch it with someone you love.

original review written Sept,2008.


1966, 2046, Adagio, Column Writer, Destiny, Future Life, Future Love, Hong Kong, Motel, Novel Writing, Novelist, One Night Stand, Past And Future Cloud Present, Secret Garden, Symbolism, Time Paradox, Time Travel, Tony Leung, Wong Kar Wai

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author avatar Sean_Victorydawn
Cihan, mid-senior level experienced publicist and production coordinator, works for the local Ottawa media production company Victorydawn Pictures since 2012.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
30th Oct 2013 (#)

Nice post!

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