In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love (花樣年華)

Director: Wong Kar-wai

Written: Wong Kar-wai

Country: Hong Kong

Year: 2000

“In the Mood for Love” (The Criterion Collection) on Amazon.

“In the Mood for Love” is one of the most highly acclaimed movies by Kar Wai Wong. It is the second part of a trilogy including “Days of Being Wild” and “2046”. The setting is the same as the others – Hong Kong in 60s, with pretty dresses, sharp suits, special hairstyles and just glimpses of the emerging metropolis that Hong Kong is now. The visual perfection of the movie is created by Christopher Doyle (“Chungking Express”, “Hero”, “2046”, “House of Flying Daggers“).

Wong Kar-wai "In the Mood for Love"
There is some magic visual perfection in this film. Wong Kar-wai “In the Mood for Love”

The story evolves slowly and delicately. Two married couples move into nearby apartments. Mrs. Chan’s (Maggie Cheung) husband is always away for the business trips, and so is Chow’s (Tony Leung, the main character of “2046”) wife. It seems like a perfect setting for an adultery story, but the characters just pass by each other occasionally, always courteous, but remaining in their own worlds of silent loneliness and despair. Eventually, they find out that there is extra-marital activity going on, but with their beloved ones. This is an adultery story turned on its head; and it takes a very different approach to the subject. Mrs. Chan and Chow form an obscure bond through the fact that their spouses are cheating on them. They spend time together trying to understand how this affair could have happened, rehearsing what they would say to their spouses to confront them, and writing a martial arts novel.

Wong Kar-wai "In the Mood for Love"
Movie is very subtle. It says more through what it does not say. Wong Kar-wai “In the Mood for Love”

I was only curious to know how it started. Now I know. Feelings can creep up just like that. I thought I was in control – says Chow before leaving Hong Kong.

“In the Mood for Love” is a very subtle movie that explores the topic of adultery and human loneliness. It doesn’t point fingers, nor do the protagonists complain or blame, they just try to understand. Moreover, it never shows Mrs. Chan or Chow’s spouses, nor do they ever face them about the issue. In essence, the movie insightfully captures the feelings of betrayal and the struggle of being lost in life.

Agne Serpytyte

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