Happy Together

Let's start over. These are the decisive words on which the craterous relationship flaps between the two male lovers in Wong Kar-wai's Happy Together. The film, which has recently been reissued by Kino Video in a remastered edition, scored Wong a Best Director award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Viewers fond of on-the-rails plotlines may by miffed at the film's whimsical ways, as when, for example, it cuts from a character reflecting on his geographical position to a series of upside-down shots that correspond to his imaging of what his native city on the opposite end of the globe would look like from such a vantage point. (Speaking with regard to the fact that the film turned out differently than what Wong initially had in mind when he began shooting, the critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote, "Happy Together is less a film with a subject than a film about not being able to find one.") Conversely, for those from whom a so it goes falls readily from the lips, Happy Together should have the gummy immediacy of a weepy nose; its free-floating construction is advantageous toward its depiction of a chaotic, distance-pursuit relationship. Primarily set in Buenos Aires, the movie follows the story of two émigrés, Lai Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung) and Ho Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung), who leave Hong Kong to reinvigorate their bond. After a futile attempt to take a road-trip to a waterfall, Ho decides they should break up, but their cycle of separation and reconciliation is not over. Although their story is filmed in an alternating palate of black-and-white and sun-stroked colors, their relationship never feels inauthentic or diffused by the director's compelling studiousness.

July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).