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Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from 2046

Wong Kar-Wai’s follow up to 2000’s In the Mood For Love is not so much a sequel as a stand-alone film made in a similar style. Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi (probably known best to western audiences from Hero) play two lost souls who move into rooms across the hall from each other, and the film plays out their ensuing affair and its consequences.

As expected from a follow up to In the Mood For Love, the mood of this film is drenched in the pain and nostalgia of lost love, and Wong exploits this to its fullest with the emotionally effective use of music. Another key aspect to the film is its beautiful visual style, due mainly to the skills of Hero and In the Mood For Love cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The film is effective because Wong manages to couple mood, acting, dialogue and plot together to form a cohesive whole; the film itself is not plot driven, nor totally reliant on its visuals.

As well as being a direct reference to the hotel room number used by Tony Leung in In the Mood For Love, 2046 could also be a reference to the year marking the last of Hong Kong’s autonomous rule; China signed an agreement with Britain that it would let Hong Kong rule itself except in matters of security and diplomacy for 50 years, starting in 1997. Watching the film with this in mind perhaps gives another view of what Wong was trying to achieve with the film, particularly as it deals with this date as a utopian/dystopian future, but the main theme of the film is Tony Leung’s bitter lost love.

2046 is by no means dependent on In the Mood For Love, even though there are constant references. The film is not straightforwardly accessible in terms of its plot; at times it is hard to understand what point the director is making. Yet rather than focusing directly on the events, the film itself is accessible through its emotional content, created by the mood and visuals combined with excellent performances.

Charles Tomlinson

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)