Sunday, December 05, 2021

The Hand

If the Dress Fits, Kill 'Em

Wong Kar-wai's The Hand [Shou, 2004/2019], made for the omnibus film Eros, which also includes Michelangelo Antonioni's final work and final masterpiece The Dangerous Thread of Things, wears a title that suggests three meanings — (a) Hua's (Gong Li's) hand that masturbates Zhang (Chang Chen) to provide a mnemonic that reinforces the beauty of the dresses he must sew for her; (b) Chang Chen's handiwork in creating the dresses Gong Li is to wear; (c) in the English, the hand that gets dealt in the gambling craft we already saw at play in 2046

Plot in Wong can take a fantastical turn (e.g., canned-pineapple expiration dates, close to a magical realism that, ashamed of itself, seeks to dispel itself) or a quotidian turn (e.g. Chang hides Gong's expanded waist size of 25cm to tell her she's just below 24, at which point she says use the old measurements and she'll just lose weight). 

To tend to the dresses of Gong/Hua, who gazes at herself in the mirror ensorcelled, whose midsection fights to pass tight corridors, is to tend to her clothes worn as the definition of the woman.


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