Part of Swoon: A Love Series and a Queer Qlassics Presentation
Wed, Feb 21 at 8:00pm: Introduction from film critic Jason Shawhan | BUY TICKETS
One of the most searing romances of the 1990s, Wong Kar Wai’s emotionally raw, lushly stylized portrait of a relationship in breakdown casts Hong Kong superstars Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung as a couple traveling through Argentina — locked in a turbulent cycle of infatuation and destructive jealousy as they break up, make up, and fall apart again and again. Setting out to depict the dynamics of a queer relationship with empathy and complexity on the cusp of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong — when the country’s LGBT community suddenly faced an uncertain future — Wong crafts a feverish look at the life cycle of a love affair that’s by turns devastating and deliriously romantic. Shot by ace cinematographer Christopher Doyle in both luminous monochrome and luscious saturated color, HAPPY TOGETHER is an intoxicating exploration of displacement and desire that swoons with the ache and exhilaration of love at its heart-tearing extremes. Winner of the Best Director award at Cannes, 1997
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and Jet Tone. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai.
Director’s Note: During the process of restoring many of the pictures that you are about to watch, we were caught in a dilemma between restoring them to the form in which the audience had remembered them and to how I had originally envisioned them. There was so much that we could change, and I decided to take the second path, as it would represent my most vivid vision of these films. For that reason, the following changes were made: During a fire accident in 2019, we lost some of the original negative of Happy Together. In the ensuing months, we tried to restore the negative as much as we could, but a portion of it had been permanently damaged. We lost not only some of the picture but also the sound in those reels. As a result, I had to shorten some of Tony Leung’s monologues, but with the amazing work of L’Immagine Ritrovata, we managed to restore most of the scenes to better quality.
“A deeply affecting portrait of a failing relationship…. Wong’s dynamic postmodern spectacle still holds the power to overwhelm and challenge audiences.” —David Pountain, Little White Lies “For all the simplicity of the narrative, HAPPY TOGETHER is anything but slight. It's a moody, contemplative piece of work, and a vividly tactile one as well, lingering on food, smoke, bodies, blood, and water.” —Jason Bailey, Vice “Thanks largely to the raw bravery and intensity of the two leads' performances, HAPPY TOGETHER takes a quantum leap forward in terms of visceral power. Despite the unearthly beauty of this film's world, I suspect you'll feel it merging with your own reality, investing your emotions with richer significance and, perhaps, making old memories and yearnings burn with fresh intensity.” —Russell Smith, Austin Chronicle