In The Mood For Love (2000) – Review

A texture unlike any other – reds and yellows and greens and blues, love and loneliness, fragility and sorrow – caught in transparency, the celluloid grains appear to physically hold the light in the stock, finally, screen and light become tangible. Their story, Mr. Chow’s and Mrs. Chan’s, blooms from the bud of loneliness, they fulfil their essential desires by supporting each other. The cracks are obvious, they’re both suspicious of their partner’s adultery, and they decide to cater to the other’s simple loneliness as their bond grows stronger over comforting the other’s sorrowful realisation.

They go on a date together, why they’re doing this is never explained outright, their reason is left as a surprise. This isn’t a motivated plot, there are no agendas, they are two people at the most fragile point in their lives. In fact, the entire movie feels like glass, easily breakable, but In The Mood For Love is more precious because of its beauty. A stunning, depthy exploration of human desires.

We’re never given a formal introduction to their counterparts, we don’t even know what they look like, we’re always lead to suspect that the presented characters are the formative couple. Yet they hardly share the screen time to confirm our suspicion, there’s an element of the unknown to keep your intrigue peaked. We’re subject to the loneliness, we’re swayed to the obvious solution. Yet, they don’t push their moral limits, they question them without breaking them. We aren’t pressured into agreeing with a negative, rather we’re supposed to balance the positive nature of their relationship in order to avoid stepping into the same grey area their partners travel.

Sensitive is too generic a word to describe In The Mood For Love. Tender, appreciative, alive, delicate and illuminating – these adjectives fail to convey the meaning of such a film. Perhaps there are no words, perhaps the film should only be described in the way it describes itself – visually. Seek it, you must.

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