In the Mood for Love by Wong, 2000

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.

He remembers those vanished years as though looking through a dusty window pane. The past is something he could see, but not touch, and everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.


  1. ktismatics says:

    I liked this movie a lot, not least because of the stylish but poignant cinematography. The story, set in Hong Kong in the sixties, focuses on a man and a woman whose spouses are having an affair with each other. We never see the two cheaters except in the briefest glimpses — the back of a head, the gesture of a hand, never the faces. The two main characters are brought together not from their own desire but in response to the desires of their partners, which of course is also their rejection by their partners. How do you think the affair started? the woman asks the man, and they imagine the possibilities together: did his husband seduce her wife, or was it the other way around? The woman asks the man if he’s having an affair; he says yes; she slaps him across the face. No, that’s not the right response, he tells her. I didn’t expect him to admit it so readily, she replies. It turns out the two of them are rehearsing her confrontation with her cheating husband, with this other man playing the husband’s part. So they try it again, this time with the play-acting husband-by-proxy denying the affair. Eventually it becomes unclear what’s real and what’s charade in the relationship between these two jilted lovers.


  2. belledame says:

    i caught this on television recently. it was utterly delicious. every single thing is used to seduce the viewer. angles, light, color, pattern, fabric, form, sound. if they ever perfect smell-o-vision this movie will put people in comas. imagine if, on top of all you see, hear and intuit, you could smell the rain, the noodle shop, the apartment building, her perfume, his cologne, the cigarette smoke, the sultry night air. :swoon:


  3. john doyle says:

    “this movie will put people in comas.”

    LOL — maybe that’s how the movie works in DFWallace’s Infinite Jest, where Quebecois separatist guerrillas hatch a plot to “infect” Americans with a movie that renders them catatonic. I agree that In the Mood for Love is an exquisitely beautiful film. Have you seen anything else by Wong, belledame? I loved the sensuality of his “2046” as well: here are a couple of screen shots from that film.


  4. belledame says:

    sorry i pulled a driveby. thanks for the links and screencap! i don’t think i’ve seen any of his other works so far, but it will happen.


  5. maladroids says:

    “it becomes unclear what’s real and what’s charade” well said. i just wrote an entry about the movie too- pretty much every screen shot taken at any moment during this movie qualifies as an arthouse masterpiece.


  6. ktismatics says:

    I agree, maladroid — it’s a very aesthetic experience to watch this movie. I see that we chose one overlapping screengrab, which is the second one in my post. Yours are great also, very evocative of “mood,” an aptly chosen word to include in the title. And belledame, the only other Wong movie I’ve seen is 2046, which is a very different story but also very beautiful, though overall I don’t think it’s as good as In the Mood for Love. Here’s my post on 2046, which includes only two screengrabs.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s