In the Mood for Love


“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.”

What it’s about:

In the Mood for Love tells the story of Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan, two would be lovers in 1950s China brought together and then torn apart as they seek understanding and comfort from each other upon discovering an ongoing affair between their spouses.

What I liked about it: 

I liked (loved) the cinematography. If there is a list of films worth watching for the cinematography alone, In the Mood for Love should be on it. Like Carol, another story of forbidden love set in a socially repressive environment, it’s an exquisitely photographed and costumed period piece, and the way the shots are framed is amazing. Carol and Therese often see each other through windows, and Therese sees Carol through the frames of the photographs she takes of her. A key point, however, is that although there may be distance and obstacles between them; nevertheless, they do see each other. The voyeurism itself is a kind of connection. In contrast, Su and Chow live in such close quarters that they must turn sideways to pass each other in the hallway, and yet they do not. They are not observing one another, and the framing shots, which similarly utilize windows and other architectural elements, serve only to emphasize their aloneness.

I also loved the ending. Whereas the cinematography reminded me of Carol, the ending reminds me of Lost in Translation. I don’t want to go into too much detail and spoil it for anybody though, so I’ll leave it at that.

What I didn’t like about it:

Yeah, I got nothing. The closest I can come to a criticism is that it should be depressing.  But it’s not.  In the Mood for Love is a melancholy tone poem that strikes just the right chord and serves as proof that when it comes to love stories about what might have been, if you simply make it poetic and beautiful enough, the rest will take care of itself.


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