Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA/Italy/Hong Kong/France/Luxembourg/United Kingdom, 2004. Block 2 Pictures, Roissy Films, Solaris, Cité Films, Fandango, Delux Productions, Jet Tone Films. Screenplay by Wong Kar Wai, Steven Soderbergh, Michelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra, segment The Dangerous Thread of Things based on the novel by Michelangelo Antonioni). Cinematography by Christopher Doyle, Marco Pontecorvo, Steven Soderbergh. Produced by Jacques Bar, Raphael Berdugo, Gregory Jacobs, Jacky Yee Wah Pang, Domenico Procacci, Stephane Tchalgadjieff, Kar Wai Wong. Music by Enrica Antonioni, Vinicio Milani, Peer Raben. Production Design by William Chang, Stefano Luci, Philip Messina. Costume Design by Carin Berger, Milena Canonero, William Chang. Film Editing by William Chang, Claudio Di Mauro, Steven Soderbergh. Toronto International Film Festival 2004.
Three master filmmakers are asked to contribute a short film on an erotic theme in this partially successful omnibus project. The first, “The Hand” by Wong Kar Wai, is by far the best of the three, a gorgeously shot romance about a tailor whose magnificent handjob from a beautiful call girl (Li Gong) turns into a years-long obsession. Wong’s fine eye for photographic detail and sensual character interplay also makes it the sexiest of the three. The middle piece, “Equilibrium” by Steven Soderbergh, is a brainy, somewhat baffling effort about Robert Downey Jr. as a patient explaining his erotic dreams to his analyst (Alan Arkin) who is distracted the entire time by something outside his window; the result is intelligent but not deeply felt. The last, and worst, of the three, is an unfortunate misfire by Michelangelo Antonioni, “The Dangerous Thread of Things”, ending his magnificent career with a forgettable and badly acted short based on his own novel. Christopher Buchholz plays a man obsessed with two women who comes to no particular realization about love or eroticism but gets to at least have his way with both of them. The ladies are lusciously beautiful but the bad dialogue and ratty cinematography reveal nothing of value. The collection is not fully worth the effort, if possible stick to just the first piece as it is wonderful.