Representing Wong Kar-wai’s finest cinematography, The Hand is the protagonist’s painful flashback of many years of unrequited love. Initially included in the almanac on love and sex entitled Eros (2004), Kar-wai later made a new, extended, and re-edited version of the picture telling the story of a submissive tailor and his arrogant client, a call girl losing her beauty.
The Russian premiere of the restored director’s cut will be introduced by Garage Screen curator Yevgeny Gusyatinsky.
The shooting of The Hand ran in parallel with the work on 2046 and was marked with multiple problems. Due to the SARS outbreak in South China, the production was moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong. The crew had to wash hands, wear masks, and avoid physical contact constantly. This explains the film’s main limitation, with Zhang never touching Miss Hua, except for taking measurements. Like other Kar-wai movies where desire rarely manages to find its addressee, the love of The Hand’s protagonist is reflected through the dresses he makes for his client and loved one. Despite minimal locations (the action mostly moves between Hua’s flat and the studio where Zhang works), the director manages to create a multilayered story, intertwining the impossibility of love with the class gap. Hairstyles, dresses, and costumes sweep in front of the viewer, becoming indicators of the main characters’ wealth (and diminishing).
With Wong Kar-wai’s filmography being one endless almanac of stories that intersect at the level of plots and themes, The Hand focuses on just one such motif, revealing the filmmaker’s signature manner in a condensed form. Known for his interest in vulnerable and sensitive men, Kar-wai continues to deconstruct masculinity, shooting a picture about a young tailor’s sexual initiation, which reverses the usual gender roles. Filmed by Christopher Doyle, the cinematographer of seven of Kar-wai’s feature-length movies, its artistic solution, including Miss Hua’s elaborate dresses, was created by another permanent co-author, William Chan. The tailor and his client are portrayed by Chang Chen (Happy Together) and Gong Li (2046). The renowned composer Peer Raben, collaborator of many German new wave filmmakers, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, wrote the music score.
The screening will be preceded by a presentation of the In the Mood for Wong Kar-wai program featuring eight restored films by the Hong Kong director. Long unavailable in theaters, these pictures finally return to the big screen, in a new quality and new editions, while at the same time reminiscent of something that seems irrevocably gone today, that is, cinema as a personal and even idiosyncratic utopia, both for the director and the viewer.
The film will be screened in Mandarin with Russian subtitles.
Dir. Wong Kar-wai
Hong Kong, 2004. 56 min. 18+