Three world filmmakers team up for this anthology exploringthe ways in which people connect sexually. The strongest segment is WongKar-wai's "The Hand," starring Gong Li as an elegant courtesanwho engages a tailor (Chang Chen) and, with a single stroke of her hand,keeps him at her service for years. Wong takes his fetish for form-fittingdresses to new heights, delighting in the delicate sighs of human handson silky cloth. Steven Soderbergh's odd, funny segment, "Equilibrium,"takes great joy in the bantering performances by Robert Downey Jr. as aseller of alarm clocks and Alan Arkin as a shrink. Soderbergh shoots inbeautiful, moody black-and-white and teases with a couple of tingly sidebarmysteries, but eventually gets too crafty and loses his way.
Finally grandmaster Michelangelo Antonioni returns to thecinema with "The Dangerous Thread of Things," an overly artsyand confusing metaphor, not helped by its odd and clumsy Italian dubbedsoundtrack. In it, a man (Christopher Buchholz) fights with his wife (ReginaNemni) and then sleeps with another woman (Luisa Ranieri). Some scenesfeel like dreams and others do not. This makes it difficult to grasp anypassage of time, rendering the characters mere ciphers. Nevertheless, takenone at a time, many of the film's images are fascinating and strikinglybeautiful; not many living filmmakers could match them. After all, it wasAntonioni who inspired Wong and Soderbergh to make this film in the firstplace.