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In the Mood for Love (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Special Edition, The Criterion Collection
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Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Hero’s Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Irma Vep’s Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery about their spouses sparks an intimate bond between them. At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, In the Mood for Love, directed by Wong Kar-wai (Chungking Express), is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. With its aching musical soundtrack and its exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle (2046) and Mark Lee Ping-bin (Flight of the Red Balloon), this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema, as well as a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.
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A gorgeous, atmospheric, sensual and very artful film, it centers on a man and a woman who rent rooms in the same home in cramped Hong Kong, 1962. Each is married, though we don't see their spouses. In fact, we don't really see many other people, and we usually see the two in close quarters, whether together or apart - at home, at work, in the street, in a restaurant, in the back of a cab. There is much to this film beneath its lush, color-saturated surface...it is a mesmerizing exploration of repressed desire, the other side of infidelity...and lost time. Wong's use of Nat King Cole on the soundtrack, singing in Spanish, is inspired.
Since seeing IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, I've made a point to see Wong's other films (and own some of them): DAYS OF BEING WILD (1991), CHUNGKING EXPRESS (1994), HAPPY TOGETHER (1997) and 2046 (2004). Wong kar-wai is one of the great contemporary auteurs and I look forward to his upcoming release, THE GRAND MASTER, starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Zhang Ziyi.
I've also sought out other films featuring the great Tony Leung Chiu-wai (who has won 5 Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Actor and 2 for Best Supporting Actor) and Maggie Cheung (winner of 5 Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Actress); the two appeared together in the 2002 Zhang Yimou epic, HERO.
Interested? Here's a link to the website for IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, a masterpiece.
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