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Past and Future Love: Wong Kar-Wai's '2046'

Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai rushed his film 2046 to the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, but it was unfinished and failed to impress audiences. A year has passed, and NPR's Bob Mondello says that Wong Kar-Wai used the time wisely.

Wong has developed a reputation as a visual stylist in his art house hits In the Mood for Love and Days of Being Wild. Now using Technicolor for the first time, the director runs riot with color and texture in 2046. And with a cast that includes Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung and Faye Wong he has also cast some of the most beautiful people alive today.

The result is a sumptuous time-teasing story, as long-time Wong collaborator Leung plays a writer who is fixated on a once-in-a-lifetime love affair -- even as he flirts and has affairs with a string of women.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.