Just finished watching Wong Kar-Wai‘s Happy Together again and the end reminded me of something I love in film: taking a really happy song and playing it against a really depressing scene.
Two moments immediately came to mind, though I’m sure there are many more (and would love input from others):
First, of course, is the end scene of Happy Together. Without spoiling much, it”s just a very lonely time in the movie and Danny Chung’s cover of “Happy Together” by the Turtles with its happy lyrics and tone makes the loneliness of the film that much stronger.
The first time I encountered this happy vs. sad juxtaposition was Michael Moore‘s Roger and Me. Toward the end there is a scene where Moore shows the economically depressed Flint, MI and plays it against the Beach Boy’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”
Granted, both “Happy Together” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” have a slight sadness to them, the way they work with the scenes in both films takes the tiny bit of melancholy and multiplies it by a thousand.