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In the Mood for Love (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo wan (Tony Leung Chiu wai) and Su Li zhen (Maggie Cheung Man yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. With its aching musical soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping bin, this film has secured a place in the cinematic canon, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.
Blu ray Special Edition Features
- Restored high definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Mark Lee Ping bin, with 5.1 surround DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack
- @ “In the Mood for Love,”director Wong Kar‑wai’s documentary on the making of the film
- Deleted scenes, with commentary by Wong
- Hua yang de nian hua(2000), a short film by Wong
- Archival interview with Wong and a “cinema lesson” given by the director at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival
- Toronto International Film Festival press conference from 2000, with stars Maggie Cheung Man yuk and Tony Leung Chiu wai
- Two new interviews with critic Tony Rayns, one about the film and the other about the soundtrack, featuring musical cues (Blu ray only)
- Trailers and TV spots
- Plus: An essay by film critic Steve Erickson; a booklet featuring the Liu Yi chang story that provided thematic inspiration for the film
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Criterion has done a great job with this transfer which has excellent picture and sound quality as well as interesting bonus features to boot. The brilliant colours and the slow-motion smoke scenes as well as the scenes of Hong Kong in that time period all look excellent in 1080p resolution and the sound coming in DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround is impeccable making this the blu ray release to get if you are looking for a classic film for your video library. This film rewards repeated viewing as any classic film does.
Wong Kar-wai’s romance drama In the Mood for Love (2000) is a subtle tragedy of a romance blossoming from mutual unhappiness. The two leads’ sorrow stems from their miserable and cold marriages, making them an ideal match on paper. Kar-wai’s direction finds the beauty in their emotional affair with every dazzling shot. Kar-wai’s writing is realistic and grounded in a genuine caution two married people would feel about cheating on their spouse. It’s an upsetting premise, but a dreamy romance movie with art house sensibilities. I adore In the Mood for Love for its romantic message of true love and cherish this film for its powerful depiction of unrequited love despite a real fondness between two people. In the Mood for Love is a romance drama for the ages and worthy of all the accolades showered upon it after all these years.
Wong Kar-wai’s direction is astounding as you always feel sympathetic for the main characters and captivated by this depressing story. It is a poignant drama about life’s expectations and how we rise to the challenge of admitting our true feelings. In the Mood for Love is a seriously mature film in this respect as its themes are universal and relatable. Kar-wai ruminates on love, marriage, happiness, courage, honesty, deception, and romance in each scene. Adult themes are dealt with in a wise manner within Kar-wai’s brilliant script and genius direction.
William Chang and Wong Ming-Lam’s editing is innovative as they cut each scene transitions without a sense of how much time has passed since the last scene. You get to figure out where and when you are thanks to the context clues around and time is rendered meaningless as long as you are spending time with your loved ones. Their cuts are so clever that you are never expecting them, and yet, they always work. Chang and Ming-Lam keep In the Mood for Love moving, coherent, and creative.
Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-Bing’s cinematography is resplendent with revealing shots of characters’ faces. They capture tight staircases, long hallways, cramped apartments, cold offices, and charming restaurants all with a unique warmth and expressive shot composition. You are always treated to brilliant displays of camera work with slow moving steady panning sequences or stunning still shots. Their use of ambient lighting and emotional framing is striking as you are always looking towards or away from each character. They will be in love holding hands or uncertain facing away from one another.
The yellow lighting or moody ambient lighting is flawless. You get the unhappy mood and then the romantic tone during the dates. The fashion of In the Mood for Love is notable all its own with dozens of radiant dresses and slick designer suits in every scene for you to absorb with your eyes. Furthermore, William Chang’s costumes are filled with flashy ties, posh high heels, cute slippers, perfectly coiffed haircuts, and mesmerizing colors. William Chang’s production design on the sets feels like authentic 1960’s Hong Kong styles with natural flower arrangements, floral curtains, antique statues, and simple furniture everywhere. His use of red for the most romantic sequences makes In the Mood for Love’s color palette exquisite! You will never forget the look of In the Mood for Love thanks to Chang’s choices.
Michael Galasso and Umebayashi Shigeru’s score is hypnotizing with its melodious and melancholic strings. The use of such a memorable theme is enthralling as you get lost in the lovely musical passages throughout the film. The music allows your mind to wander to all your memories and heartbreaks, while relating to the film’s tragic narrative. Kwan Le-Na’s makeup makes Maggie Cheung look gorgeous and sad, while giving Tony Leung a realistic sincerity and professionalism about him.
Finally, the nuanced acting within In the Mood for Love is so understated that it remains timeless. You feel like you are witnessing a real romance playing out before you thanks to Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung’s performances. They play the quietly miserable married spouses to cheating other halves. Thus, they kindle the flames of romance over time into a dreamy and genuine relationship based on love, respect, and mutual interests. In the Mood for Love gives these two the role of a lifetime and they deliver their career best acting here. Cheung is like an uncertain melancholic goddess walking around Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Leung is a suave, yet shy leading man of empathy and tenderness. Together Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung elevate an already genius display of Chinese cinema into peak artistry and riveting drama.
Overall, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love is a realistic and complex romance drama of innovative filmmaking, touching romance, passionate writing, and stunning visuals.
Top international reviews
I loved the long quiet scenes through dark tunnels of reds and greens it is a beautiful movie. So far I purchased 6 copies and distributed 5 of them to friends but I think I am the only one who managed to watch the whole thing. So i know this is not one for everyone. Trying to explain the savor of danish blue in a Kraft cheese slice world is not easy. Sorry spoiler alert....nothing blows up. Pity it seems to be a difficult specialist film to some as it bears repeat viewings and nuances are revealed with each screening. See it if you can.
A voir évidemment en VO.