In my early days in Buenos Aires, I could often be seen strolling around the city. The shooting of HAPPY TOGETHER was about to commence and there I was a director with two characters in mind for whom I had managed to find a place to live but nothing else. I was hungry for details of these two men’s lives.
Where do they go for cigarettes? What do they drink at home? Do they drink water? Or Argentinian wine? What kind? Do they wash their clothes themselves? Is there a grocery store by? Is it cheap? Do they like pizza? What do they do on nights when they get bored? Where do they go on Sunday afternoon? Do they enjoy seeing a soccer match? Do they have enough clothes to wear? Did they know it was going to be cold in the Summer, as I myself did not know? Do they get lonely?
Through my stay in Argentina, I gradually lost sense of time. As I don’t speak a word of Spanish, I could neither read newspapers, listen to the radio, nor watch television. Communication with the outside world had been terminated and time ceased to make any difference. Days seem to repeat themselves. I came to understand the feeling of exile.
So I imagined what I would have done if I were a traveler in exile. I imagined I would have kept something of a record, if just to keep myself amused, to remind myself of my life in Buenos Aires. To prove my sanity, I imagined this record would be my sole companion. My companion. My companion in a land of zero degree, with neither east nor west, day or night, neither cold nor warm.
In a way, this film could be my imagined record. Wong Kar-wai