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China/Hong Kong/France/Italy/Germany 2004
produced by
Wong Kar Wai for Shanghai Film Studios, Jet Tone Films, Orly Films, Paradis Films, arte, ZDF, Block 2 Pictures, France 3 Cinéma, Columbia
directed by Wong Kar Wai
starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Faye Wong, Carina Lau, Chang Chen, Dong Jie, Siu Ping Lam, Takuya Kimura, Wang Sum, Maggie Cheung, Bird Thongchai McIntyre, Ng Ting Yip
written by Wong Kar-Wai, cinematography by Christopher Doyle, Lai Yiu Fai, Kwan Pung Leung

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After having split up with Su (Gong Li), Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) moves from Singapore to Hong Kong

where he meets an old love, Lulu (Carina Lau) again, who seems to have forgotten everything about him ... a few days later, she is found murdered in her hotelroom (roomnumber 2046, hence the title), & for some reason (no reason at all), Chow decides to take exactly this room, & when he can't get the room, he takes the room opposite, 2047.

soon he starts doing some pimping (a man has to live, & as a writer, Chow's financial situation is rather sad). One das, he meets his new neighbour from 2046, Bai-Ling (Zhang Ziyi), falls for her exceptional beauty & tries everything to bed her ... eventually he is successful, & she really falls in love with him ... but he blows it when he proposes to pay her. Her heart a bit broken, Bai-ling accepts the money, & from now on charges him every time they have sex ... Soon though, emotions like passion & jealousy get in the way of their stupid arrangement, & eventually he even wants to charge her ... & some day she's just gone.

Then Chow meets hotel owner Wang's (Wang Sum) daughter Jing Wen (Faye Wong) & has sympathy with the girl whom her father forbids to even receive loveletters from her Japanese lover ... so Chow proposes  that her lover whould send the loveletters adressed tohim & he would give them to her ... naturally, she accepts, & soon she & Chow get to know each other better, & he learns that she, too, writes, but only as a hobby, & before long, they start writing a martial arts novel together. Of course, it is n ot long before Chow falls in love with her, & he incorporates this lovestory into a science fiction story he writes, about the weird world of 2046 (the room number, translating into the year), where time stands still & where nobody ever came back from. There, his hero/he finds an android train attendant (of course it's Jing Wen) whom the hero falls in love with ... but he can'T make her fall in love with him too, because she is in love with somebody else ...

Back in real life, Jing Wen soon leaves for Japan to marry ...

Chow then goes back to Singapore to find Su again, who long ago saved him from losing everything in gambling, & the woman he always really loved ... but to no avail.

Back in Hong Kong, Chow meets Bai Ling again, who meanhile went through some bad experiences & wants to leave for Singapore with his help. She also wants to rekindle their lovestory, but he refuses to break her heart again, instead makes her one of his characters in 2046 ...

On a visual level, this film is a pure feast, every sinly image seems to be carefully composed & of a striking beauty ... but as ever so often with Wong Kar Wai, this cannot obscure the fact that the story is lacking the depth it pretends to have & is not even too carefully told ...

The main problem is that the film tries too much at once: Iit tries to be a science fiction film, a tale of intertwining reality & fantasy, a piece of (message-)cinema about true love (gone wrong), and a short story collection about people in a hotel (with several of the short stories lacking either beginning, middle or ending). & in all this mess, the main character remains totally featureless: in one story he is a gambler, pimp & prick (the story of Bai Ling),while inthe next story he is a sympathetic quiet, even shy man of deep emotions (the story of Jing Wen) with nothing there to motivate his change of mood.

Now let me get this straight, the film is not all bad, it's wonderful to look at ... but the actual story seems to be abit lost onthe audience ... which makes it (running over 2 hours) a tad long to sit through.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD