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In the Mood for Love
(Cantonese with subtitles)
Starring - Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung
was my first WongKarFai film and I think it's his most solid and
professional work yet. A real director's film this is. The
cinematography is great too- filming in tight corners and alleyways of
downtown Hong Kong in the mid 50's (?) it follows the comings and goings
of two married working class people of the age. Cramped in their
surroundings, amidst nosy neighbours and cheating spouses, the pair
enact their relationship through the sub-reality of writing a Chinese
fantasy novel. Their love plays out like the haunting aching
recurring theme song (Yumeji's Theme- arguably the highlight of the
movie's soundtrack) and struggles between the subtle nobility of
well-mannered Chinese mores and the chemistry that draws them together.
I loved the achingly s l o w way their affair played out -
making you fill up and devour your own anticipation - and how it
sidestepped ending up just another sordid tale about lust and focused on
the longing and sticky sweetness of love isolated.
It is a restless moment.
She has kept her head lowered,
to give him a chance to come closer.
But he could not, for lack of courage.
She turns and walks away.
That era has passed.
Nothing that belonged to it exists any more.
He remembers those vanished years.
As though looking through a dusty window pane,
the past is something he could see, but not touch.
And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.
-In the Mood for Love
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