Happy Together, the Argentine exile

Happy Together 春光乍洩
Wong Kar-wai
Buenos Aires, Argentina
34° 36′ 29″ S, 58° 22′ 13″ W
1997

Happy Together is the story of two undisciplined lovers in exile. Ho Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung) and Lai Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) left Hong Kong to go and see the Iguazu Falls in Argentina. They arrive in Buenos Aires, where there is a time lag and cultural gap. Above all, they experience a relational and emotional shift. The couple find themselves stuck in a passionate and unstable cycle. Consecutively, they leave each other, join each other, tear each other apart, to better start again from scratch. Finally the strong, sensual and intense love story gives way to hardness and melancholy, realizing that they are sad together.

Buenos Aires cinematography

Wong Kar-wai stages a story in a city 18,500km from Hong Kong. Buenos Aires is supposed to be the negative of Hong Kong. The wandering is endless in the Argentine capital. By day it is flooded with light, saturated, oppressive, suffocating. At night, reigns indiscipline and adventure. 
However, the aesthetics of the city is similar to Hong Kong. The passion of men is confined there in a yellow atmosphere. Where sensations are sometimes conveyed by looks or gestures rather than words. The decors are vibrant and lively, each with its own unique and striking colour. The Black and white shots alternate with colour, as if photographs had been taken to immortalise the difficult relationship.

In their Argentinean exile, the two men are as lost geographically as they are emotionally. The irony of Happy Together lies in the emotional instability caused by marginalization and uprooting. The escape to Hong Kong is seen upside down, as an inversion of the poles. Then, as always, the vibrant melancholy of returning home reappears, when the journey ends but the memory lives on forever.

Cinematography: Christopher Doyle
CIN6

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