Tony Leung & Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai’s “In the Mood for Love”.
It’s been awhile since I first watched Wong Kar-Wai’s film, “In the Mood for Love,” so a few weeks ago I decided to give it a second look. As I’ve written before, I’m not someone who needs a lot of action in a film, actually I prefer the slow groove of character driven ones where only subtle changes occur. American films don’t trend this way, so I find myself often checking out Criterion releases.
“In the Mood for Love” is largely atmospheric, so beautifully lit & shot that you hardly notice that not a lot is happening. Wong Kar-Wai choose to shoot through small windows or divides that made scenes much more intimate than the more conventional views. He chose rich vivid colors for the clothing his characters would wear and the rooms that they moved around in. One piece of music was chosen as a thread woven through the entire film, the character’s moving at a mesmerizing pace along with it.
The two main characters find out that their spouses are having an affair with each other and begin to trade notes and commiserate over dinners. Although they vow not to be like them, they begin spending more time together out of loneliness, even collaborating on a graphic novel and suddenly love seems to be the greater risk. It’s an extraordinary film but when you sit down to watch it, first take a deep breath…relax and let yourself enjoy what is probably one of the most beautiful films ever shot.