"2046" is awash in such wrenching and charming tears. If everyone in this film weeps, including Chow's counterpart - a character in his hallucinatory science-fiction story that works as a parallel to his own story - it's because everyone is also captive to memory. In "2046," memory isn't just a favorite snapshot, a blast from the past. It is where everyone lives, whether they want to or not, whether giggling in a tawdry Hong Kong hotel in 1967, hurtling through the atmosphere on a train in the future or sitting in a darkened movie theater. Like film itself, memory freezes time. Memory turns finite moments into spaces - a hotel room, say - that we return to again and again. It gives us a glimpse of the eternal and, like art at its most sublime, like this film, a means for transcendence.
By MANOHLA DARGIS
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW