In The Mood For Love

on February 02, 2001 by Chris Wiegand
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   Wong Kar-Wai's latest picture, which was selected as the closing film for the 2000 Edinburgh International Film Festival, is the account of an unusual love affair set in Hong Kong in the 1960s. Starring the director's regular collaborators Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung (who won the Best Actor award at Cannes for his performance), the film is a moving study of events during a decade that the director last visited in "Days of Being Wild."

   Cheung plays Mrs. Chan, a secretary who at the start of the film rents a room for herself and her husband in an apartment block. On the day that she arrives, newspaper editor Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung) moves in to a neighboring room. As time passes, the two become acquainted and, sharing a meal one day, they come to the startling realization that their other halves are having an affair. Fascinated by the events that have passed between their partners, they are drawn into an intimate reenactment of the liaison. During these role-playing games, they find themselves slowly growing closer to each other.

   After the washed-out visuals of Kar-Wai's "Happy Together," "In The Mood For Love" is a stylish cornucopia of color, from Cheung's breathtaking outfits to the apartments' furnishings. The film is beautifully lit by Christopher Doyle and Mark Li Ping Bing, and elegantly and intelligently directed by Kar-wai. Each scene is beautifully framed and the director frequently allows his camera to linger long after the dialogue has finished, simply appreciating the beauty of each scene. The film uses a sophisticated repetition of shots, such as those of Mrs. Chan arriving in and leaving her apartment, so that it begins to work rather like a symphony. The similarly repetitive and emotive classical score is accompanied by a selection of Nat King Cole's Latin songs. This is an astonishingly rich and multi-layered film that is possibly the director's finest to date Starring Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Rebecca Pan and Lai Chen. Directed, written and produced by Wong Kar-Wai. A USA release. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 96 min

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