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In The Mood For Love - Sight & Sound

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: In The Mood For Love - Sight & Sound Reply with quote

By: Brooke, Michael, Sight & Sound, 00374806, Feb2013, Vol. 23, Issue 2

New releases

Wong Kar-Wai; Hong Kong 2000; Criterion/Region A Blu-ray/Region 1 DVD; 98 minutes: Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 (DVD anamorphic); Features: 'Hua yang de nian hua' short film, '@ In the Mood for Love' documentary. Tony Rayns video pieces, deleted scenes, interviews with Wong Kar-Wai, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, booklet

"How should I address you?" asks Tony Leung's Mr Chow at the start of In the Mood for Love. "My husband's name is Chan," replies his new neighbour Maggie Cheung demurely, laying down the formal social codes that will both guide and frustrate all their subsequent encounters, their palpable hunger for each other (both physical and psychological: this is one of cinema's great studies of emotional bereavement) permanently constrained by the need to keep up appearances at all cost. As the camera constantly glides from side to side and back again, and Mrs Chan's distinctive gait (dictated by her seemingly infinite supply of cheongsam dresses) is mirrored by the swaying of the street lamps in the wind, the film frequently becomes more of a musical than a narrative experience, complete with tiny grace notes: an almost invisible smoke ring, a blob of yellow mustard, Mrs Chan momentarily glancing back at Mr Chow after she's passed well beyond the camera's narrow depth of field and he's looking the other way.

Last autumn, Wong Kar-Wai's seventh feature had the distinction of being the highest-placed post-2000 feature in Sight 8- Sounds decennial critics' poll -- it came in at number 24, tying with Dreyer's Ordet and Kurosawa's Rashomon. Twelve years after its premiere, it feels as though it's been around far longer: there's a classicism about the framing and cutting that recalls golden-age Hollywood more than anything else in Wong's output, though it's hard to imagine an old-style studio mogul sanctioning the frequent moments when the film slows down to examine a single brief scene from every possible angle (almost invariably accompanied by the pizzicato pulse of Umebayashi Shigeru's achingly beautiful string mazurka) before the story is given another, almost reluctant, push forwards.

Disc: In the Mood for Love has had several excellent DVD editions already (Criterion, Tartan, TF1), but something that fetishises colour and texture like this really needed the superb high-definition transfer featured here. Many of the extras will be familiar from the previous Criterion edition (highlights being 'Hua yang de nian hua', Wong's video collage of fading cinematic memories, Liu Yi-chang's short story 'Intersection', and four deleted scenes, the incorporation of any one of which could easily have collapsed the whole finely balanced house of card-house), although S&S's Tony Rayns has recorded two fresh video contextualisations, one on the film, the other on its eclectic soundtrack.


Reviewed by Michael Brooke

Last edited by Sandy on Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Affair to Remember.

Authors: Hong, Catherine
Source: Harper's Bazaar. Feb 2001, Issue 3471, p159. 2p. 2 Color Photographs.
Section: LIFE


Two of Asia's screen legends pair up to dazzling effect in Wong Kar-wai's rapturous new film about love and repression in 1960s Hong Kong.

In the lush, enigmatic Chinese-language film In the Mood for Love, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung manage to pull off the most romantic movie in recent memory without even kissing. Positioned like a voyeur behind doorways and street comers, the camera sneaks glimpses of the couple standing in an alley in the rain, squeezing past each other in a noodle-shop stairwell, and tentatively letting their fingers touch.

Wong Kar-wai is Hong Kong's most admired filmmaker, known for his intensely romantic yet hard-boiled and visually daring movies. Though this film is decidedly more classical in form than Wong's previous work (Chungking Express; Happy Together), it is clearly his own. In the Mood tells the story of neighbors who realize their spouses are having an affair. At first, they are drawn to each other out of mutual curiosity and suffering. Inevitably, they fall in love, and the film becomes an elaborate waltz of restraint versus action, duty versus desire.

"His films are always about things that you regret not saying or doing that stay with you your whole life," says Cheung, who has starred in three of Wong's previous films. With her wide, expressive eyes and graceful mien, she completely inhabits the role of Li-zhen, the impossibly poised wife who rarely has a hair or an emotion out of place. Cheung slinks through the film like a latter-day Deneuve in a seemingly endless succession of beautiful custom-made cheongsams. "At first, I had trouble opening up to the role. I felt very stiff and uptight. I had to convince myself that there could be such a woman who wants to be so perfect all the time," she says with a laugh.

The 36-year-old actress has appeared in an astonishing 75 films, including Jackie Chan's first three Police Story movies. More recently, she has enhanced her international reputation with the art-house hit Irma Vep (directed by her husband, French filmmaker Olivier Assayas). She has already been cast in Steven Spielberg's much-anticipated adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha.

In the Mood marks the fifth film in which Cheung has been paired with Tony Leung, 38. Smoothly handsome in his gray silk shantung suits, his hair carefully groomed in the style of the era, his character is as tentative as Li-zhen in declaring his feelings; Leung's understated performance won him the award for Best Actor at Cannes. "He is a writer, but he doesn't know how to express himself," explains Leung, who has appeared in a total of five Wong Kar-wai films. In person, the slim, reticent actor exudes the same detached cool of the characters he often plays on-screen. "Kar-wai and I have been making movies together for so long that we completely trust each other," he says. "But you never know the whole story until you see the film."

In fact, the story did change, somewhat to the surprise of both actors, after the movie was shot. Their love scenes were edited out, leaving what does or does not transpire between them ultimately unrevealed. In the Mood ends with an alluring mystery, but the masterful final product speaks to the wisdom of letting the audience fill in the blanks.
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In The Mood For Leung

Joined: 13 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the record, this is my favorite TL film. Smile
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