Monday, June 6, 2011

In the Mood for Love - Review

The New York Times described it as Brief Encounter remade by Kubrick & Scorsese, which is an apt, yet lacking, way to describe Kar Wai Wong's exquisite 2000 classic, In the Mood for Love.

It resembles David Lean's Brief Encounter in it's telling of a hesitant & restrained love affair between two exceedingly decent people, it's Scorsese in its virtuoso, offbeat editing, and also in it's construction of a time & place through the detail of its governing codes and classes,and it's Kubrick in its painstakingly gorgeous, serene cinematography. But it is a masterpiece in its own right.

The time & place is 1960's Hong Kong, the exceedingly decent people are Maggie Cheung & Tony Leung, married neighbours who form a quiet friendship & bond over a shared secret. Creating vivid characters from little dialogue, Cheung & Leung (Cannes Best Actor winner) perform wonders, and on the simplest premise, Kar Wai Wong constructs a heart-wrenching world of repressed emotions & saturated colours.

A gorgeous piece of audio-visual cinema, perfectly executed by a director marching to the beat of his own drum, blessed with characters you would care about if they were animated as stick men. It wafts over you like a dream, but the poetic whallop of its final reels will stay with you for weeks.