Monday, October 08, 2007

There's Only One Sun

This film dropped out of nowhere for me. I was going around online, saw a link to it on Youtube and figured I’d check it out. Ten minutes later, I was once again in awe of the greatest filmmaker in the world. Making what’s ostensibly an advertisement for a flatscreen TV, Wong Kar-Wai delves back into the robot world of 2046 and spins another dizzying tale of identity and ennui under gorgeous neon lights.

If I was to ask someone to make a short film for me, I don’t know that they could make something perfect for this. It consists almost entirely of elements that I love. For one, Wong Kar-Wai is directing, with a ton of his signature elements in place. The voiceover ponders identity questions and lulls you into a moody haze, perfectly complimenting the music and visuals to build atmosphere. Watching Wong Kar-Wai movies always makes me want to use voiceover in my own work, since he pulls it off so effortlessly, these beautiful words flowing from the characters.

The plot revolves a female robot operative who poses as a blind woman to track down a man called The Light. The story doesn’t really matter though, it’s really about the desire she has, to see him even after he’s gone. The light is secret, and she can only find him in her memories, represented through the screen. Much like the jukebox in Fallen Angels, the TV screen here becomes a center of erotic desire. The woman is practically fucking the TV at the end of the ad, literally trying to get lost in her memories. This ties in with the themes in all his work, 2046 in particular. That work was all about living in memories, and the inability to deal with the present.

A lot of the sci-fi ideas from 2046 crop up here. We’ve got those amazing shoes that light up when they touch the ground. Those shoes alone have more style than pretty much every other film I’ve seen this year. Nobody makes his characters look as glam as Wong Kar-Wai. I love the red trenchcoat, and the black outfit the woman’s wearing when sitting on the bed. Even the odd future headcovering at the end works. And, the hair style is fantastic, looking like 1920s Edith Manning from The Invisibles, the hair has a kind of plastic quality. She’s gorgeous, in a specifically Wong Kar-Wai kind of way.

But, it’s not just the woman who’s gorgeous, the cinematography here is just so lush and moody. Even on a crappy Youtube video, you get lost in it. The neon lights and colors seem to hang in the air, palpable mood. I love those halls filled with neon colors and the out of focus shadows drifting through them. Combined with the same haunting songs from 2046, and we’ve got a lost chapter of that movie.

It really frustrates me that we’ve never gotten a definitive DVD, with deleted material from those future segments. The robot story with Faye Wong is my favorite thing in any Wong Kar-Wai movie. As this film shows, he approaches the genre in a really unique way. He turns it into an allegorical playground for emotion. The odd characters maximize the feelings involved, turning individual romantic conflicts into emotional drama that plays on the nature of humanity itself. That’s what the genre at its best can do, and Wong Kar-Wai has proved himself the heir to classic 70s sci-fi cinema.

It had been a while since I’d seen new Wong Kar-Wai material, and this one just popped out of nowhere to dazzle. It’s a perfect short, and I really hope to get a DVD quality version at one point so it’s even easier to get lost in.


Demétrius Daffara said...

I found the short by accident as well and I got that impressed, either. And then, I just couldn't believe I didn't know anything about this Wong Kar Wai film. Sure, it's supposed to sell a TV but damn, now publicity and advertising seems much more reasonable to me - or at least, less dumb!

I'm anxiously waiting to watch My Blueberry Nights but there isn't even a release date for it in here, which is a shame.

At least, There's Only One Sun is just about right to satisfy me, I say. Still, yeah, it's all older Wong Kar Wai stuff, specially 2046 (Even Connie Francis says hello) which is amusing and all. However, it made me feel a little, just a little bit scared, though. It's just advertisement and not supposed to be a masterpiece (Even that it just so happens to be) but still, feels somewhat redundant and limited. The structure, cinematography, everything. He was hired to do it, obviously. We'd have to see more Wong Kar Wai works to come to see how and if this fear applies. It's all impressive and taken to the perfection, nonetheless.

If this film comes packed with every Philips fancy shiny TV thingy, it would be worthy!

Patrick said...

I'm hearing February 13 for My Blueberry Nights, but that's far from confirmed. I hadn't heard anything about this short either, but I've got a Google News Alert for WKW and a blog that had written about it came up.

As for your fear, I think WKW has specific periods. For the past couple of films, and the side stuff like his Eros short, he's been working in this 60s period, and this movie feels like an extension of that. The music and production design is right out of 2046, but I don't think that's a sign of where he's going in the future. I think it's more that he had all that production design and barely got to use it in 2046, so this is a prime opportunity to bring it back.

It's a distillation of what he did there, but the overt sci-finess of it is a bit different. 2046's sci-fi stuff was all allegory for the other narrative goings on, this is just out there sci-fi stuff. I'd love to see him do a feature like this, going off the rails into abstract concepts. But, for now, this is good. said...

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