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.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.