Saturday, July 25, 2009


Eros is a portmanteau film from three international auteurs: Wong Kar Wai, Steven Soderbergh, and Michelangelo Antonioni. The term
auteur applies to Wong ever so well. As the title suggests, the film is about love, lust, and whatever that comes in between. Oh, and as a warning to save your time, Wong's short film is the only one of the three worth watching. (I skimmed through the latter two.)

Wong's feature in the film is title The Hand starring Gong Li and Chang Chen. The story is about a young, working class man who has an unrelenting love for an older, sexually-matured social climber/gold digger/prostitute. At times, Chang Chen appears extremely naive knowing that Gong Li will never love Chang Chen back the same way. However, this is what makes the story so beautiful. When Gong Li becomes broke and has no money to pay for her growing tab at the tailor, Gong Li tells Chang Chen to sell some of her cheongsam. Chang Chen takes them but keeps them safely for her eventual return.

In addition to the heartfelt storyline, the cinematography is perfect. Many scenes are dimmed lit with one light source like Caravaggio's paintings. Close up shots show the beautiful laced details of cheongsam. I thought The Hand is darker, not only in the lighting but also in the mood, than most of Wong's films.

About the title--there are many segments within the film that makes its title appropriate. First of all, Chang Chen is a seamster who uses his hands to make clothes. In the beginning of the film, Chang Chen is just a young apprentice at a clothier delivering cheongsam to Gong Li's residence. During this visit, Gong Li erotically feels Chang Chen's crotch--a scene where the element of hand is beautifully featured. The penultimate scene intensely portrays the hand as an emotional, bewitching object.


Anonymous said...

Gong Li is amazing.

Alex Lai said...

I agree. In Memoirs of a Geisha, she is said to have been so fierce that she scared the young Sayuri so much so that they had to find a new actress to replace the little girl.