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In the Mood for Love

Wong Kar-Wai

Echoing David Lean’s Brief Encounter with its tale of soul-mates teetering on the brink of an impossible affair, In the Mood for Love is beautifully orchestrated, supremely stylish and hypnotically executed. Displaying a masterly command of colour, composition and music, Wong Kar-Wai paints his film in ravishing reds and simple images invested with a wealth of plaintive emotion. Thanks also to cameramen Christopher Doyle and Mark Li Ping Bing, In the Mood for Love has to be considered one of the most gorgeous films of the year.

In the Hong Kong of 1962, two couples move into the same building on the same day. The wife (Maggie Cheung) of one and the husband of the other (Tony Leung) are pushed into each other’s company as their respective partners are often away, and a relationship of respectful cordiality slowly matures into something more significant than either of them seems willing to acknowledge. This is altered when they realise that their spouses have been having an affair. They meet more often to analyse the situation, torturing themselves and cementing their new bond by speculating on the fine detail of the affair. The question then becomes whether such closeness will inevitably lead them down the same path of infidelity.

Maintaining its grip throughout, In the Mood for Love remains intensely focused on the central duo. The poised performances from Cheung and Leung effortlessly convey the physical attraction of these people whilst hinting at the terrible pressures concealed beneath the calm, immaculate facades they present to the world.

Hong Kong, 2000.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby stereo SR.
90 mins.

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