Only a student would present a checkout assistant with two doughnuts, a kitchen sponge and a bottle of decent, half-price Bordeaux. It was a sunny winter’s day, so naturally I spent most of the daylight hours in a darkened cinema. The Picturehouse had a Wong Kar Wai double-bill which begged me to come and I happily obliged. Picturehouse afficionados may be interested to hear that they have now licensed the entire premises, meaning that you can grab a pint and take it into the theatre European-stylee should you so wish. The two films on offer today for the bargain price of £5.50 were In The Mood For Love and its recent sort-of-sequel 2046. I had seen the latter earlier this year but had never seen the former before. Although separately they are brilliant films, together they work phenomenally. They share a similar dreamlike quality and languid, ravishing cinematography that makes them feel almost erotic despite their grittiness. Yet the pensive tone of each focuses on very different ideas. The first is more plot-driven, involving two neighbours who discover that their respective partners are cheating on them and, in an effort to understand it, become close as a result.
2046 picks up with the man several years later, now a womanising scoundral and a totally different character, perhaps changed by the experience we have already witnessed. Less plot-focused, it deals with the notion of memory and dealing with one’s past, entwining a stylised visualisation of a sci-fi story penned by the lead with his own life. It is sprinkled throughout with allusions to its predecessor and the title itself comes from the hotel room in which the events of the earlier film unfolded. “All memories,” we are told, “are traces of tears”. Perhaps not all memories are inherently sad, and yet the fact they are now only memories means they are tinged with sadness, a longing for an impossible return to a time now past. And so we forever struggle to escape one’s own past lest we actually manage to return and become forever stuck there, trapped in room 2046.
Dave and Krystyna held a Christmas party on Thursday night, complete with a Secret Santa (with a not-so-secret Gubby playing a disturbingly promiscuous Mr. Claus — yes, I have sat on Gubby’s lap and yet I have returned from the abyss a stronger man). There was an impressive spread of food with exotic cheeses and biscuits, sausuage rolls, mince pies and various mulled beverages (wine and even cranberry for the non-alcoholics). Amongst the gifts received from Santa were a sprig of mistletoe, an edible candy garter, and a rubber duck with a (non-stolen) Santa hat. I came away content with a tinned Happiness Candle that, Edward Monkton explains on the label, would like to be my friend. Admittedly it was not the weapons-grade plutonium which I had reqested, but hey, you can’t have it all. Well done guys!