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In the mood for love (2000) April 25, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Uncategorized.
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Me? Miss the chance to see a WKW film on the big screen? Never! So it was that I grabbed the chance to see ITMFL again as part of the National Gallery’s Carravagio film season. As it happened, it was also on at the Prince Charles as well that day, in a double bill with 2046. Ah, bliss!

It’s not my favourite WKW film (though heaven knows it is every Western critic’s), but a masterpiece it certainly is and probably WKW’s most concise, least indulgent film. Still, as my friend pointed out, there’s a large segment of the film that is so slow, so mundane and so full of repression and yearning that you just want to scream “DO SOMETHING!”. This is of course the intended effect. ITMFL is, whilst a perfect character study of morals and duty, also a series of intensely beautiful images. Christopher Doyle may never shoot a more beautiful film. Moreover, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung probably do give the performance of their lives. The scene where Su Li-zhen returns to the apartment, asks about the neighbours (i.e. Chow) and gives the hint of a tear at the window, back turned to her host, is undeniably moving. Having said that I still don’t like the ending 100%. The Ang Kor Wat scene goes on bafflingly too long for my liking, but no written ending can be as perfectly symbolic as that ending gesture (so much so that WKW used it again in 2046):

In the old days, when people had a secret they would climb a mountain, carve a hole into a tree, whisper it and then seal it up with mud, so that no-one would ever learn of it.

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