A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
2000 - Wong Kar Wai - Hong Kong / France
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"It is a restless moment. She has kept her head lowered to give him a chance to come closer but he could not, for lack of courage. She turns and walks away.".... and so begins what I believe is one of the greatest films ever made!! Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood For Love is a beautifully poetic, artistic, thoughtful, and emotionally involving film that takes nothing for granted as it gradually builds to get the viewer "in the mood" of it's ill-fated relationship. The film brilliantly examines the emotions of the relationship between two lost souls, their everyday lives and events, the longing and connection that ties them together, as well as societies restraints which keep them apart. In the Mood for Love's cinematography is nothing short of remarkable. Every shot is beautifully framed and gorgeously composed of strong colors blended with dark portions to add both meaning and the claustrophobic feel of 1960's Hong Kong. The images convey both a beauty and symbolic metaphor for the film (be it mirrors, curtains, outfits, etc) and the frame is often detailed in tight, compact shots to heighten the claustrophobia, and also express the emotional state of it's characters (who hold secrets within). The film is also very much a political one as both the characters hidden secrets and the story draw metaphoric parallels to Hong Kon and China politics. In many ways, In the Mood For Love is a very personal reflection for it's filmmaker who consciously detailed the period and even such metaphors as the hotel room number 2046 (which marks the last year of the 50-year period that China would allow Hong Kong on it's own). In a very symbolic way, In the Mood For Love represents both personal and emotional secrets and memories for Wong as well as the films characters. Notice even the way the "rehearse" or "perform" as they even hide their own feelings from each other. Of course to simply define the relationship as a metaphoric one would be completely overlooking what is a deeply emotional story of connection and longing. Despite limited dialogue, Tony Leung and the radiant Maggie Cheung give (as usual) extraordinary performances through their delicate body language and isolated facial expressions. Not to go without mentioning is the excellent, repeated use of the film's breathtaking violin music and soundtrack, which gracefully flows throughout and adds depth to both the visual and emotional atmosphere. In the Mood For Love is a film that recalls the beauty of the French New Wave and of old-fashioned Hollywood filmmaking (the color and composition style and social complexity of Douglas Sirk certainly comes to mind), as it ultimately represents the joy and wonder of filmmaking and cinema in it's purest artistic form: capturing feelings and emotions through expressive imagery and sound! Like great art, Wong undoubtedly leaves much to think about here, as very much of the film is left open (the husband and wife; the intimacy of the relationship; Su Li-zhen's child; the ending). Few films truly capture fate, destiny, connection, isolation, and above all the longing for love better then this stylish, poetic Wong masterpiece. In many ways this is the brilliant Hong Kong filmmaker's greatest achievement. I truly believe this to be one of the most perfect films ever made and any praise can still not justify it's transcendent and poetic beauty. This is a film to experience and to cherish.
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