Hong Kong, 1962. Chow (Tony Leung – “Happy Together”, “Hard Boiled”) is a junior newspaper editor with an elusive wife. His new neighbour, Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung – “Days of Being Wild”, “Irma Vep”), is a secretary whose husband seems to spend all his time on business trips. They become friends, making the lonely evenings more bearable. As their relationship develops they make a discovery that changes their lives forever… In this sumptuous exploration of desire, internationally acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai (“Chungking Express”, “Happy Together”, “Fallen Angels”) creates a world of sensuality and longing that will leave you breathless. “In the Mood For Love” has seduced audiences and critics alike, winning awards at Cannes 2000 for best actor, cinematography and editing.
2000 – Certificate: PG – Hong Kong Film
Rating Details: Mild sex references and language
7.0 out of 10
I’ve recently developed a new interest; a new kind of fetish if you like. I’ve discovered port. Not the type with boats and things, but the one that’s like red wine on steroids. Cockburns Special Reserve Port is meant to be vegan and is well structured, with rich, ripe fruit and gentle spicy tannins. It has a clean aroma, showing maturity and finesse, with a hint of dried plums. Off dry to medium sweet, it has a rich, mellow texture and a smooth tannin structure, with a long, satisfying finish. (Obviously I got that lot from the Internet; I don’t really know anything about port, other than it’s red and I like how it tastes.) Apparently the classic way to serve Special Reserve is with aged Stilton cheese after dinner; or with roasted almonds or walnuts and squares of rich, dark chocolate, for a simple but elegant dessert. Personally I just drink it on its own out of the wrong shaped glass. Still, I like to think I’m a higher class sort of drunk. You won’t find me in the gutter with some cans of Asda lager in the remains of a six-pack ring, or a smashed bottle of Buckfast. Port is a bit of a throwback to a more civilized time now past; so’s this film.
When I was young I used to sit at home on a Saturday afternoon with my mum, watching old, black and white films on BBC2. In those days we only had three TV channels to pick from and no Internet or home videos; life was hard. Nowadays I can pick from about 200 TV channels and a billion videos on the Internet, or select a DVD or Blu-ray disc to watch. No wonder more people suffer from mental health difficulties these days. Those old films were inevitably made in the 50s and focused on some couple in America with ‘marital difficulties’. They were pretty boring. I’d much rather have watched the wrestling on ITV’s “World of Sport” and seen ‘bad-guy’ Mick McManus trashing another opponent illegally when the ref’s back was turned, but you only had one TV in those days. (Sadly Mick died earlier this year.) Watching “In the Mood For Love” took me straight back to those days; (the films that is, not the wrestling). It’s in colour and set in Hong Kong in the first part of the 60s, but other than that… When I was watching it I was trying to work out why I’d bought it, as it’s not the sort of movie I’d normally watch, but by the end it made perfect sense. It’s got the sort of plot Thomas Hardy could easily have written, (if he’d been able to get away with writing about marital affairs). Chow Mo-wan certainly has something in common with Jude Fawley. The first 15 minutes or so are a real muddle to follow, but then it settles down. It’s also currently the 247th most highly rated film on IMDB, so I guess that means it’s pretty special. Whatever. But overall it’s worth watching, despite the lack of explosions, spaceships and perverted sex.
The music plays a big part in making this movie work, from the use of a number of songs by Nat King Cole, through to the regular musical montages (using the same bit of hypnotic waltz music) that’s used to drive parts of the story along. Not a soundtrack I’d want to listen to on its own, but great in the context of the film.
Recommended for newspaper editors, PAs and lonely husbands and wives.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? It seems you have to be a bit of a bastard to get anywhere in life these days. Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan were just too nice. This makes them badass, but unfortunately it also makes them total losers. What a shame.