or In The Mood For Love
Wong Kar Wai, China, 2000
I thought I’d already seen this but I hadn’t. It’s smooth and sumptuous and a deserved classic. Emotions simmering under the surface like a 19th century romance. Words unspoken, feelings undeclared, an impossible love, and all that happens physically between our two lovers is a couple of instances of holding hands very briefly. Snatched moments of time together. The relationship develops so innocently, thrown together as they are by their spouses having an affair with each other. This story couldn’t happen today with our permissive culture and focus on sex (or maybe in these pandemic times we’ll return to this kind of distanced passion?!).
I loved her impressive range of stylish dresses, and the whole set styling in general — Hong Kong in the 1960s, from the modern office to the formica kitchen. Red and green are highlighted throughout wherever they appear. What do these colours mean? Jealousy and passion? These themes run through the film. And then there’s the heavy rain (washing all the scum off the streets) that adds atmosphere and forces our couple together. Split screen shots (like Antonioni) make it seem as if we’re glimpsing these people’s lives through a crack in the door, rather than seeing them full on. They’re not centre stage in their own lives, let alone in this drama.
At the moment, a lot of old films best seen in the cinema are getting a re-release – this and the other two films in the trilogy, 2046 and Chungking Express; last summer I saw Under the Skin; Cronenberg’s Crash is out at the moment. I hope it continues. The cinema wraps me up in its comforting darkness, delights my senses of vision and hearing with the big screen and surround sound, and this one also kept my cognitive capacities absorbed listening to Cantonese and reading Spanish 🙂