In Tony's dream, sometimes he would return to Buenos Aires, where the scathing sun was laughing, laughing at this group of ignorant Hong Kong people on a foreign land. Leslie faded like a flower in the storm, and Tony's enforced exile seemed endless. He would watch the bus travelling over the road, and wanted to jump into any of them, to get away from the city, to any place else, but soon he was called back to be the faithful lover, similarly trapped in this place by the twisted romance, never to escape.
Tony never knew that at the bottom of love was hatred, which restrained him, strangled him, and he was completely helpless. Wong Kar-wai taught him that, and he supposed he should be grateful, grateful enough that he should repay it with a knife.
He could see it, the alluring blade. At that time he was both Tony Leung and Li Yiu-fai. Li said, "Why is it that every time you come and go as you want?" Tony Leung said, "I can do it too. I care about you too much. This time it's me who goes first."
Then the dream threw him out mercifully.
Tony remembered the day that finally put the end to all of this. Then Wong Kar-wai,with childlike enthusiasm in his voice, pointing him to a magazine cover with Bruce Lee on it. "It'll be my next project," Wong said dreamily. "Let's start over again."
Tony hated that he was trapped in Wong's dream again, the same words again and again. Did he not know about the pain and the hurt?
Then days went on. Tony was back in Hong Kong, but Wong's words intrigued him and --- what was he joking about? Wong was his opium. Tony would go through the torture of working with Wong again, because he couldn't handle the deadly withdrawal.
"If you don't make the film soon enough, I will be old," he told Wong.
Zhang Ziyi once asked him, after he broke his arm and they were both exhausted, with tears mixed with sweat, "Is it worth it?"
Tony didn't know how to answer.
Kungfu was just a combination of horizontal and vertical stroke. The wrong one fell and the right one carried on. It was what he said in the monologue as Yip Man. But was Tony able to go on? More importantly, did he want to?
Master Yi told him that in Wing Chun, one should hold a stance like a piece of bamboo, firm but flexible, rooted but yielding. Tony felt that he was too yielding yet inflexible at the same time. The irony. When he was acting, he could sense Wong focusing on him through his dark sunglasses. Was Wong looking at him as a scientist trying to prove his theory, or as an artist looking at raw material? Tony never knew.
But the film did shape him, in a good way or not, he couldn't tell. He was bent, stretched, broken, and then pieced together again. Master Li praised his progress, saying that he was getting the spirit of wing chun, and he smiled, grateful yet frightened. Because what would remain of the original Tony Leung when the film was over? He felt that he was hanging on to pieces of him, never letting it go.
Did Yip Man feel like this? Did he ever feel the need of hanging to the piece that lived in the past? In the golden spring of his years?
At this time, Yip Man as the role and Tony as the actor were indistinguishable. He wasn't sure if he liked it.
The production of the film finally reached an end, and Tony felt that a part of him was forever changed. He was an actor. Detachment was pretty much a survival skill. But this was different.
This was Wushu.
Tony saw the news report that he was crying when he was watching the documentary of the film. He wasn't sure where the tears came from. After so many years of acting, there were no pure tears any more. Were that tears of grief, tears of relief, or tears of determination?
Tony had a firm conviction.
He should quit Wong.
But what 'd happen if Wong said the famous words, "Let's start over again"?
Tony was frightened to know the answer.