Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

In the mood for love

As a change from all these French films I am working through, here is number 24 in that last year "Sight & Sound" new top 100 .... 
I recorded Wong Kar-Wai's 2000 hit IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE from television, and got around to finally seeing it yesterday. I just had to order the dvd, as it is now a new favourite film of mine.
Hong Kong, 1962. Secretary Mrs Chan (Maggie Cheung) and her husband rent a room in the same building as Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung) and his wife. After a while, and with their partners seemingly always away on business, Mr Chow and Mrs Chan become friends, their hesitant, considerate relationship making their nights alone more bearable. But why do their spouses spend so much time away? And why is it always at the same time? Directed by Kar Wai Wong ('Chungking Express'), this finely detailed, beautifully photographed love story was widely acclaimed everywhere.
This is a movie one can return to and absorb oneself in, as we spend time with Mrs Chan and Mr Chow and that period Hong Kong scene of 1962 is lovingly detailed. Great too to see a film which one does not know how it is going to end, as we move on to 1963 and then 1966 .. The directer creates a world of sensuality and longing that will leave you swooning, as we take in the colours, those cheongsams the effortlessly graceful Maggie Cheung wears, that music soundtrack, his longing for them to be together but not like their cheating partners, and how they resolve that.
The marvellous soundtrack by Michael Galasso, aided by some Nat King Cole, creates a world of its own and serves to highlight the sadness and the longing which the two main characters feel - some of it suggests an Argentine tango to me; ideal for if you are sitting alone in the dark, smoking a cigarette, in your room, longing for a loved one, who is on the other side of the wall in the room next door but you cannot be together ... Both are married to spouses we never fully see, just hear in conversations or phone calls. Both appear slightly isolated from their place in the world. Chow dreams of writing kung-fu series for a living whilst Su waits to become a mother. The camera prowls around,viewing them from a slightly greater distance than normal, as they get to know each other, like when she goes for her noodles, but must not arouse the suspicions of Mrs Suen, the owner of the apartment she shares.
It is one of the great romances, up there with BRIEF ENCOUNTER or CASABLANCA
I love it.

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