Wong Kar-Wei: In Mood for Love, An accidental discovery

222px-In_the_Mood_for_Love_movie.jpgThe Asian Writing Club has a prompt for review for Wong Kar-Wei's 2046 but Netflix has not released that movie yet. However, on the Netflix and Amazon sites, two phrases for one of the Wong Kar-Wei's another movie, In Mood for Love piques my attention - "Love in the absence of fate" and "It is about a love affair that should happen, but didn't." I check the movie for rental thinking that I am going to watch an elegant Hong Kong/ Chinese version of "Casablanca" or "Lost in Translation". In Mood for Love is also part of an informal trilogy that includes 2046, so I am OK in picking this movie for the writing exercise. In Mood for Love is much more than I thought it would be. It is about love that is ethereal but nevertheless very real and with a deeper understanding between two souls. It is also about decency, and also about lack of courage to rebel against the rules of society. The opening line in the movie says it so aptly:

"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."

Winner of many awards that includes 2000 Cannes Film Festival, In the Mood for Love is a tour de force by Wong Kar-Wei. Juxtaposed by the repetitive nature of the movie scenes like a very delicate poem with high-low pitch multi-lingual music, striking cinematographic light play and beautiful cheongsam dresses, it is a story of two neighboring apartment dwellers, Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) and Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) who discover that their ever-absent spouses are having an affair. These lonely souls become friends and then fall in love - but they keep it platonic, undefined, and never attempt to cement it. The strength of their love is undeniable in one of the scene where Mrs. Chan breaks down sobbing in one of their mock breakup but then their restrain is often repeated in the movie by a self-imposed rule:

"We will never be like them!"

But why, they deserved better. I disagree with "It is about a love affair that should happen, but didn't" and agree with "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."  Maybe, Wong Kar-Wei is more complex and cryptic. Experience the movie yourself - I hope have not spoiled the story for you by the review.

Cross-plotted at Asian Writing Club.