Eros

Portmanteau pictures rarely add up to more than the sum of their parts and, despite offerings from three exceptional filmmakers, ‘Eros’ is no exception. The theme is desire – a comfortable mode for Wong Kar-Wai, whose ‘The Hand’ offers a miniature version of his swooningly gorgeous, chronologically choppy impressionism. Chang Chen plays the apprentice tailor bowled over by Gong Li’s imperious ’60s courtesan, to whom he remains a devoted supplicant for decades despite a reversal of fortune. The almost stifling interiority – shadowed faces, overheard conversations – lends a heady sensuality and Wong’s way with memory, yearning, costume, colour and Canto-pop is impeccable, though by now familiar.

Set in 1955, Soderbergh’s chamber piece ‘Equilibrium’ is by some way the lightest of the three. Robert Downey Jr is a neutoric ad exec with recurring dreams about a woman who isn’t his wife; Alan Arkin is his indifferent psychoanalyst, who has a thing for a woman across the way. Shot in noir-ish B&W, it boasts great comic performances from the preoccupied leads and funny, if inconsequential, dialogue.

You can only wish for a grain of such light-heartedness from the nonagenarian Italian, to whom the other films are dedicated. ‘The Dangerous Thread of Things’ is quite as portentously fatuous as its title, offering one pouty man, a couple of naked women (sometimes writhing beneath a waterfall, sometimes on the beach) and a phallic tower topped by a metal cock. Riddled with bitterly hollow laughter and thuddingly symbolic dialogue (‘The horses escaped again. I have to bring them home...’), at least it gets out of doors with some pretty scenery. Better, though, to be cooped up with Wong.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday September 22 2006
Duration: 106 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Steven Soderbergh, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wong Kar-wai
Screenwriter: Steven Soderbergh, Tonino Guerra, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wong Kar-wai
Cast: Chang Chen
Alan Arkin
Robert Downey Jr
Gong Li
Luisa Ranieri
Ele Keats
Regina Nemni
Christopher Buchholz
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