Movie Review: In the Mood for Love

By Yvonne Lo

From July 12th to August 24th, The Museum of Moving Image created a Wong Kar-Wai series to feature all ten of his films including the New York premiere of the The Grandmaster. These millennial-defining works are among the most celebrated and critically significant films of the Hong Kong Second Wave. The series were accompanied with an online symposium on Reverse Shot.

Wong Kar-wai is one of the most influential film directors of his generation. His impressionistic, evocative movies capture the fleeting nature of time and love and the chaotic swirl of contemporary life. One of the Director Wong Kar-Wai’s most successful films is The Mood for Love. The film has been nominated and won for many awards for several categories from Best Foreign Language film to Best Costume & Make-Up Design.

A 2000 Hong Kong film starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, the film is set in Hong Kong, 1962. Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung), a journalist, rent a room in an apartment of a building on the same day as Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), a secretary from a shipping company. They both have a spouse who often works overseas and often find themselves alone in their rooms. Chow and Su form a bond over the suspicions of their spouses seeing each other. Su gets curious on how their spouses’ affair might have begun, and together, Su and Chow re-enact what they imagine might have happened. As time passes, they acknowledge that they have developed feelings for each other. When Chow is asked to leave Hong Kong for a job in Singapore, he asks Su to join him. At Singapore, Chow shares a story about how in older times, when a person had a secret that could not be shared, they would go atop a mountain, make a hollow in a tree, whisper the secret into that hollow and cover it with mud. The final scene ends at Siem Reap, Cambodia at a ruined monastery, Chow whispers for some time into a hollow in a ruined wall, before plugging the hollow with mud.

The film is sensual, elegant, romantic and it’s beyond words to describe it…just beautiful!

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