Gay Essential Films To Watch, Happy Together (春光乍洩)

In Happy Together, Ho Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung) and Lai Yiu-fai (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) are a gay male couple from pre-handover Hong Kong. The pair visits Argentina in the hope of fixing their volatile relationship. As they arrive in Argentina they break up. Lai, the more stable of them, gets a job whilst Ho, who has a destructive personality picks up men and brings them to the club where Lai works.

Ho Po-Wing turns up at Lai Yiu-fai’s apartment. Because he has been beaten up, Lai takes him in and cares for him. Eventually they get back together and follow their previous destructive pattern of abuse and breaking up. Ho, initially seems to be making an effort to make their relationship work, but as he gets better he starts to pick up other men again eventually leaving Lai.

As Lai and Ho’s relationship deteriorates, Lai becomes close to Chang, a friend at work. Chang is the opposite of Ho and his sincerity helps bring Lai out of his depression. However when Chang leaves, Lai becomes depressed again and has sexual encounters in restrooms and cinemas to try and cope with the loneliness.

When, after a few months, Ho contacts Lai, Lai refuses to see him. Eventually, when returning home to Hong Kong, Lai visits Taipei and finds Chang’s family’s noodle shop from which he steals a picture of Chang to remember him by.

Happy Together

Critics

“Loose, buoyant and bracingly original.”
   Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle

“Maverick director Wong Kar-wai manages to pour old wine into new jars with Happy Together, a fizzy chamber yarn about two gay Hong Kongers in Argentina that’s as slim as a bamboo flute but is his most linear and mature work for some time. ”
   Derek Elley, Variety

Happy Together is Wong’s most fully realized work. It is a pleasure to watch an interesting mind feel his way, and the result is something more than just a passing fancy.”
   G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Examiner

Did You Know?

Tony Chiu Wai Leung agreed to do the film on the basis of a fake script and only realized he had to do a gay sex scene after he had arrived in Argentina for filming.  The English Title of the film, Happy Together is inspired by the 1967 song by The Turtles and is covered by Danny Chung on the soundtrack. Review our Gay Themed Films Here

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Alexander Ryll
Launched in June 2014, Gay Essential is the world’s largest gay themed film blog promoting new and rare features. I am helped by some amazing writers and we also cover film festivals in the UK and USA. We are 100% independent, without advertising or funding by film distributors. Help to keep Gay Essential independent by purchasing our merchandise GET (Gay Essential Tees)
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