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In the Mood for Love
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IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE centers around Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung), neighbors living in a crowded apartment... Read More
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE centers around Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung), neighbors living in a crowded apartment building in 1962 Hong Kong. Both married to people who are always away, they spend many nights home alone. The two make each other's acquaintance and soon find that they have a lot in common: Both enjoy martial arts, frequent the same noodle stand--and eventually discover that their spouses are cheating on them. (Mo-Wan's wife is having an affair with Li-Zhen's husband.) Hurt and angry, they find comfort in their growing friendship even as they resolve not to be like their unfaithful mates. <br> <br> Wong Kar-Wai's seventh film reunites him with Leung and Cheung, who provide perfectly evocative performances as the two hesitant would-be lovers. A slight departure from his more recent films (in which he used hyperkinetic camera movements to reflect the frenetic pace of modern Hong Kong life), here Wong uses fixed shots and stages static tableaus to capture a lost historical ... Minimize
22 Reviews from Epinions.com
Mar 5, 2001
In the Mood for More
Pros: Beautiful imagery, powerfully restrained acting, disjarring passion
Cons: Some may find its disjointed narrative a bit offputting
The Bottom Line:
A beautiful valentine to hidden desire, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE is an emotionally arresting film that seeks to reveal the need for love in all of us.
In director Wong Kar-Wai's emotionally devastating IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, the audience is taken to early 1960's Hong Kong, where two neighbors unwittingly become more than that when they discover that their spouses have been having an affair.
Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung), a working woman whose husband is frequently off on business trips, moves into a room rented by the amiable Mrs. Suen (Rebecca Pan). She meets Mr. Chow (Tone Leung), a quiet man whose wife works late and often takes her own share of business trips. Through a series of phone conversations and shots of the back of Mr. Chan's head while he is talking to his wife, we eventually learn of the aforementioned indiscretions. (The scene where Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow realize for the first time that their partners have been cheating on them is a haunting one, as they make cautious inquiries relating to handbags and ties that resemble those brought back from business trips by their spouses.) Determined "not to be like them," Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow forge an alliance, one that subsequently leads them into an exploration of their own hidden desires and needs.
The cinematography by Christopher Doyle is lush and atmospheric, calling attention to color tones and shading. Several moments are shot in slow-motion; the fall of a cigarette to the ground, a drop of rain in a puddle, a silhouetted figure descending a case of spiral stairs.
The appropriately moody score by Michael Galasso also underscores the latent desires of the two principal characters, with an extremely effective Nat King Cole song tossed in for good measure at several key points in the film.
Some might find the story's rather disjointed narrative unpleasant, but I found the editing to be brilliantly effective. Oftentimes, the only way you can tell that a day has changed is because Mrs. Chan's dress has changed as well. Otherwise, all of the dialogue and conversations lead into one another, promoting a fluidity that serves the film well. The film is more a snippet of scenes than it is an actual story... these are moments in the lives of these characters that eventually tell a somewhat fractured but still powerful story.
Both Cheung and Leung are exceptional in their respective roles. Cheung's quietly restrained performance is the backbone of the film, with her silent resilience keeping her emotions stifled at all times. When Mrs. Chan eventually breaks down at key moments in the film, the effect is beautiful and haunting. Leung is equally adept at keeping his character's true emotions hidden, trapped as he is by society's constraints and in the guilt that both he and Mrs. Chan feel for their partners' actions, as well as their own.
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE is a deeply effecting movie that is deceptively cryptic. By refusing to allow sentiment to creep into his narrative, Kar-Wai ends up creating a masterpiece of guilt and stunted desires.
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