Happy Together

This fascinating tale of a gay couple's side by side existence in modern day China may be too "artistic" for some people's liking, but it has a grit that is so undeniably realistic that it should captivate anyone who has ever been involved in any serious love relationship. Ho-Po Wing (Leslie Cheung) and his lover Lai, Yiu-Fai (Tonie Leung), have left their native city of Hong Kong to begin a new life in Argentina. Their struggle for survival in Buenos Aires finds Lai working as a doorman at a Tango bar while Ho ploughs his trade as a male prostitute. No matter how many times they break up for good, Lai turns up again like a bad penny, but with a good side. Their life together in a small, disheveled, one-room apartment winds up in endless arguments which, although often absurdly funny, do not make circumstances any easier for them. Love and jealousy battle for the upper hand in a meager lifestyle. Their fondness for each other does not deter their self destructive behavior or foolish attempts at revenge. Lai leaves his old job and finds a new one in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant where a young boy from Taiwan named Zhang (Chang Chen) also works. They become good friends and each shares a part of his life with the other, although much remains unspoken. For Lai, the beautiful image of the Iguazu Waterfalls remains an important symbol with complex meanings. Eventually Zhang will leave Buenos Aires for Teipei and Lai must decide as to what path he will follow.

Director Wong Kar-Wai had his fair share of difficulties filming in Argentina, where prices had been driven up and hours restricted as a result of their film industry's recent experiences with Evita and Seven Years in Tibet, but still managed to turn out a sensitive movie that won him the award for Best Director at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Magnificent attention to detail by production designer William Chang creates a convincing atmosphere.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett