Edgar Cochran’s review published on Letterboxd:
"All memories are traces of tears."
The present is the indivisible particle of time in which we perceive our existence, and the past and the future kiss each other. In the present, past and future are perceptions. These perceptions can influence and, in some cases, determine the present, but the interaction is never tangible. The continuous union of these particles constitutes what we call "time".
Love is a decision, not an emotion. Its art relies on being requited, suffered, timeless and inspired by divine forces. Without this divine inspiration acting as an agent external to our system of "being", "love" is nothing but a bundle of temporary emotions and becomes constantly fluctuating. There is no substitution for true love, even if this substitution is sought through human interaction.
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
-1 John 4:8
"2046" as a concept binds past and future together from a present-time perspective. Like the Cantonese take of Tarkovsky's concept of "The Zone", it is an idealization of man's solutions to his existentialist troubles. Mankind suffers because of change. Everything in life changes except change itself. In 2046, nothing changes. This makes time and existence timeless and, ergo, meaningless: the ultimate mechanism of dehumanization. Secrets are kept in there. Nobody leaves. Nevertheless, this decision of not leaving may not constitute the optimal decision of happiness; rather, it might signal man's lack of capacity to imagine a better existence, because with no change, there is no perceived risk. Yet with no risk, there are no gains, and true love is a decision that never involves a risk. In 2046, true love doesn't exist: it has been artificially replaced. When a man noticed this, he left, leaving everybody bewildered. How could he explain all of this? The only option left for him was with giving vague answers.
It is revealing when we give advices to other people about taking care of themselves and setting themselves free from their past, because the past, economically, is a sunk cost and, spiritually, meaningful for our present. When you give this advice, you might realize that the one in need is yourself. Let the past sink you and the present becomes the tears of your past. We have a life that has become, once again, timeless and meaningless.
Some people say Kar-Wai Wong invented love. What I'd say instead of that is that the auteur is representing a void interpretation of love from those with a lack of it. With 2046, he constructs the conclusion to his trilogy with countless references to the other two films for kicks, but with a philosophical take that refuses epistemology and dives deep into the sea of emotional impulses by individuals trying to rationalize their past and slowly realizing their mistakes while they leave a carnal, selfish, confused and misogynist path behind them. You could say it teases structuralism, but with a stronger inclination towards visual poetry with an almost literary structure. This style might not be the culmination of his kaleidoscopic impressionism and cascades of emotions, most of them in the lowest depths of human dignity, which proved to be his most effective style, but this one has the equal weight of philosophical ambition compared to the aesthetic ambition of Fallen Angels (1995). Different experiments with different results, this is most adequately interpreted as the voice of an auteur with many things to say and many means at disposal to use.
Versatility, ladies and gentleman. This guy deserves a bow.