Friday, September 21, 2012

In the Mood for Love - Wong Kar-wai (2000)

Quite the stunner from the 2012 Sight & Sound poll! At least for me... The higher-ranked (of 2) movies from the 2000s.

In the Mood for Love (Fa yeung nin wa)
dir. Wong Kar-wai. 2000, Hong Kong.
Sight & Sound 2012: Critics' #24 / Directors' #67
Roger Ebert's movie review ... Criterion essay
DVD/Blu-Ray from the Criterion Collection
No streaming...

In the Mood for Love trailer (2000)

"She dresses up like that to go out for noodles?!"

Alright. First off, here's a well-made film with several interesting aspects. I've liked Maggie Cheung since back in the '80s during Jackie Chan's HK action heyday, and Tony Leung had a prominent role in John Woo's Hard Boiled (1992). Not that I came in expecting death-defying stunts and double-fisted gunplay. Good period (early-'60s) drama, but unrelentingly sad. And the #24 movie of all time? Regardless of your methodology, I'm not ready to get behind that. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for In the Mood for Love... Ha! I've got to be the only one to have ever made such a comment.

Perfectly understandable why it's such a major downer. Both of our leads seem like Destiny (as the happy coincidences pile up)... are already chronically abandoned by their mates (whose treatment by the film is just one point of interest)... even before they start to suspect an affair (on which they obsess unto reenactment)... then resisting the obvious course (preemptive strike rehearsal), and foiling Destiny (even unto Cambodia). A little levity comes from the sidelines, but clearly this story of about the sad sacks who get left behind with each other - while their spouses enjoy high adultery together. The style looks great but also appropriate for the tone, and the acting is consistently top-notch, but it clearly could have used more drunken master martial arts storyline. I'll just have to try again later.

This movie is part two in a semi-formal trilogy, including Days of Being Wild (1990, S&S #283) beforehand and 2046 (2004, #447) afterwards. I'm also interested in those, especially the last one.

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