Queer Eye: Happy Together (1997 film)

By: JOSEPH D. NUQUI

Queer stands for many other things than many of the same types of people and cultural projects are provided with different alternatives to perform what they want to deliver to a movie (Kim & Hong, 2007). In this beyond the knowledge within the movie studies indicating that these are sites of queer unification and communication, higher appreciation of the role of time and generation within the queer sexuality analysis (Binnie & Klesse, 2018). Asian gay representation lies in the process of come into being who they are and about revealing their real identity and blood association (Yue, 2000). International films interest in art theaters from Hong Kong is situated to a small group of directors, especially the exceptionally good of Wong Kar-wai, who won the Best Director award for Happy Together at Cannes in 1997 (KHOO, 2014). 34th Golden Horse Awards Best Cinematography. 7th Arizona International Film Festival Audience Award – Most Popular Foreign Film.17th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actor Tony Leung. Starring Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-wai, that describing the chaotic love romance. In Cantonese with English subtitles. Soundtrack and music by Danny Chung and Tang Siu-lam. The film recognizes positive reviews and reviewed in several movie festivals; it was nominated for the Palme d’Or and won the Best Director at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. However, in this film Wong explains how we can tell story on film. This is the story of a gay couple who is sad and uncooperative about it. Happy Together is part of a cultural institution that enables production of impartiality and sustainability (Jinah Kim & Atanasoski, 2017).

Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, written, directed and produced a Happy Together movie. Ho Po-wing (Leslie Cheung) and Lai Yiu-fai (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), a couple from Hong Kong’s pre-handover, visit Argentina in the hope of altering their bad relationships. The two have an example of abuse, followed by shame and unity. Ho Po-wing together with his partner going in a ride to explore adventure, suddenly there was a miscommunication that caused an argument and break up.

But, Fai has a strong fighting spirit he did not lose hope instead he works in a tango bar as a door man, assistant cook in a Chinese restaurant where he met and became a friend of Zhang from Taiwan and in slaughterhouse trying to save money for his daily needs (survival) and also saving money for his plan to go back to Hong Kong. Ho became miserable due to his work as a prostitute. Until he went to Fai apartment seeking help because of his bruises to his body and bleeding head. Fai initiated to bring Ho to the hospital and went back to his apartment. Here you can see the love of Fai to Ho despite of what happened during the past. Fai take care of him everything such as cleaning Ho’s body, cooking and serving food because Ho cannot use his two hands due to his bondage. While there sleeping, Ho went to Fai wants to have a sexual relationship, but Fai refused him. Ho insisting, but again Fai warned Ho if he will not stop doing it he will force him to expel from his apartment. After Ho was healed, he continued his pickup boy lifestyle and left Fai.

Fai spent all his time on his job and his friend Zhang that he felt the happiness for that moment. But soon, his friend leaving for good and this is the heart felt feeling of saying goodbye. Because Zhang is Ho’s opposite. Fai went to Taiwan before heading to Hong Kong, hoping to meet him again, sadly he did not, but he saw his family that one day if he wants to visit him he knew the place and never introduce himself to them. For the actors they did great for this movie, they emphasized the action in every scene where in you can feel the emotions.

 There is not much conversations “Happy Together,” but more on action scenes and elaborating the experiences of the characters. The director divided the scenes by using color density from black and white to color. Thus, uses his camera in a natural way as if he had just dropped his characters and did not intend something. This film expands and slow down camera speeds, using short freeze frames in the middle of a scene, creates ideas and glimpse instead of imitating the very familiar standards of movie story. It will be happy and enthusiastic. For some shots of things and moments stands for a kind of idealized romantic possible for them in their sorrow. At the end, Happy Together visualize in its art work as a story of reflection of a gay couple that in all circumstances in life there is hope. There is a turning point in life that you can be able to decide for the improvement of your situation. This film is an ordinary story for a couple, but in this story is different from the common relationship. Nevertheless, this is all about the feeling of same sex who were in a relationship that deals in their setting up and expressing their thoughts and to live in this world as equal human being and there is nothing to do with others (Díez & Dion, 2018).

Queer theory for this film “Happy Together” same sex couple or having in a relationship with gay or lesbian, defines and identifies the kind of norms of sexuality, whether it is bad or good, physically and mentally (lisahunter, 2019). In this new generation, we have seen and heard many stories of this kind of relationship and about the coming out from their closet. They are fully brave enough by expressing their secret identity without any discomfort to themselves (Michaelson, 2018). Importantly, is the understanding of the society in their behavior in terms of communication and preferences, thus it’s their own choice of knowing what they want to be (Ybarra, Mitchell, Ybarra & Mitchell, 2016). Additionally, queer people are in the situation of identity crisis, where they seek their identity and want to have someone to support, accept and love them because some do not care about the gender crisis and they want to belong to the society (Rosenberg, 2018). Some older men declare that they do not appear due to social stigma, until a threatening attraction implies doing so such as the doubt of their family and friends, but the younger men who came out during the new era, especially the internet world have some exits that can be relied upon and easy to access (Lewis,2012). The “Happy Together” film is a queer product with all the characteristics of the characters and the totality of the scenes based on it. Even at the end of the story no one knew they were gay couple, Fai and Ho they do not introduce themselves as couple instead they are friends. In this film Fai and Ho do not want to reveal their secret identity until the end of the story. Still, it is part of our culture, belief about coming out. It is the norms of the society that can accept of who we are and the way we interpret our lives (Clark, 2014).

References:

Binnie, J., & Klesse, C. (2018). The politics of age and generation at the GAZE International LGBT Film Festival in Dublin. Sociological Review, 66(1), 191–206.

Clark, I. (2014). International Society and China: The Power of Norms and the Norms of Power. Chinese Journal of International Politics, 7(3), 315–340.

Díez, J., & Dion, M. L. (2018). New Media and Support for Same-Sex Marriage. Latin American Research Review, 53(3), 466–484.

KHOO, O. (2014). Wong Kawaii: Pop Culture China and the Films of Wong Kar-wai. Journal of Popular Culture, 47(4), 727–741.

Kim, J., & Hong, S. (2007). Queer cultural movements and local counterpublics of sexuality: a case of Seoul Queer Films and Videos Festival. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 8(4), 617–633.

Jinah Kim, & Atanasoski, N. (2017). Unhappy Desires and Queer Postsocialist Futures: Hong Kong and Buenos Aires in Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together. American Quarterly, 69(3), 697–718.

Lewis, N. (2012). Remapping disclosure: gay men’s segmented journeys of moving out and coming out. Social & Cultural Geography, 13(3), 211–231.

lisahunter. (2019). What a queer space is HPE, or is it yet? Queer theory, sexualities and pedagogy. Sport, Education & Society, 24(1), 1–12.

Michaelson, J. (2018). Queering Martin Buber: Harry Hay’s Erotic Dialogical. Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 36(3), 31–58.

Rosenberg, S. (2018). Coming In: Queer Narratives of Sexual Self-Discovery. Journal of Homosexuality, 65(13), 1788–1816.

Ybarra, M., Mitchell, K., Ybarra, M. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2016). A National Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual (LGB), and Non-LGB Youth Sexual Behavior Online and In-Person. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45(6), 1357–1372.


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