Saturday 13 September 2008

In the Mood for Love (Fa Yeung Nin Wa) [2000]

Perhaps the most restrained effort of Hong Kong maestro Wong Kar-Wai till date, In the Mood for Love is a beautiful movie that explores, with (infinite) sensitivity, themes like extra-marital affair, unrequited love and platonic relationship. It is 1962 Hong Kong, and the two protagonists of the movie, Mr. Chow – a journalist, and Mrs. Chan – an office secretary, have moved in a vibrant building as neighbours along with their spouses. Living next doors the two lonely individuals cross their paths over a period of time, and their acquaintance gradually changes to friendship, which becomes more profound (and reaches surreal, heart-touching depths) when they realize that their respective spouses are having an affair with each other. Their lovely yet restrained friendship and understated love are evocatively juxtaposed against their cramped apartments and offices, and the rise of Communism in China; like they say, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Heartfelt performances by the leads (Tony Leung is exceptional), languid camera movements and terrific use of background score (Nat King Cole’s lilting voice has produced a haunting effect) add to the beauty of the most un-Wong Kar-Wai movie of his fantastic filmography. Though never as brilliant as Chungking Express, it neverthelesss attains heart-warming proportions.

Director: Wong Kar-Wai
Genre: Drama/Romantic Drama/Period Film
Language: Mandarin/Cantonese
Country: China (Hong Kong)


sitenoise said...

This is the only Wong Kar-Wai film I like ... and I really like it. Every moment of this film felt like the climax of tragic romance. How could you not mention Maggie? She was unbelievable! I can't imagine anyone watching this film and not falling in love with her. Once again, you've forced me into the vault to watch a film I've already seen!

Shubhajit said...

Its always a pleasure to open a small door of nostalgia to film aficionados like you. As for me, my favourite Wong Kar-Wai movie is, by far, Chungking Express. But as perhaps is evident from my review, my enthusiasm about In the Mood for Love is in many ways similar to yours.