Jul 9, 2009

12th July 2009; Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love
A film by Wong Kar-wai
Country: Hongkong
Cantonese with English subtitles
Run time : 98 min
12th July 2009; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium
Call : 94430 39630

With two interviews with Wong Kar-wai :
Cinema Lessons -Interview at Cannes festival
2. Wong Kar-wai on In the Mood for Love

His name is Mr. Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai). Hers is Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk). In the crowded Hong Kong of 1962, they have rented rooms in apartments next to each other. They are not poor; he's a newspaper reporter, she's an executive assistant, but there is no space in the crowded city and little room for secrets.
In the Mood for Love is a lush story of unrequited love that looks the way its songs sound. Many of them are by Nat King Cole. This is the kind of story that could be remade by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, although in the Hollywood version, there'd be a happy ending. Instead of asking us to identify with this couple, as an American film would, Wong asks us to empathize with them; that is a higher and more complex assignment, with greater rewards.
The sense of history and nostalgia that pervades In the Mood for Love is a signature of Wong’s style and reminiscent of filmmakers such as Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard and Krzysztof Kieslowski. With history and nostalgia, however, come change and the notion of ‘before’ and ‘after’. The protagonists are caught in a constantly evolving space where time can stand still or be momentarily captured, but will eventually succumb to expiration.
Hong Kong provides the ideal setting for this exposition of human contact within a buzzing cosmopolitan city that is both vibrant and brash. Wong successfully grants introspective gazes at his characters (usually in sets of twos), exploring their insecurities, personal motives and ultimately the random nature of relationships.
The movie is physically lush. The deep colors of film noir saturate the scenes: Reds, yellows, browns, deep shadows. One scene opens with only a coil of cigarette smoke, and then reveals its characters. In the hallway outside the two apartments, the camera slides back and forth, emphasizing not their nearness but that there are two apartments, not one.
Using graceful slow motion sequences and nostalgic music, Wong Kar-wai juxtaposes the romanticism of a lost era with the unrequited longing of an impossible relationship in In the Mood for Love. Wong's highly stylized camerawork serves as a visual foil to the chaos of the meticulously structured mise-en-scene: the crowded living conditions, overly familiar neighbors, and imposing, uninvited guests reflect the claustrophobic, intrusive nature of traditional society.
(Source- Internet)

Wong Kar-wai

Wong Kar-wai is undeniably an auteur of striking and salient cinema, standing apart from much mainstream Hong Kong cinema. Wong belongs to the mid-1980s Second New Wave of Hong Kong filmmakers who continued to develop the innovative and fresh aesthetic initiated by the original New Wave. The Second Wave, which includes directors such as Eddie Fong, Stanley Kwan and Clara Law,

After obtaining a diploma in graphic design from the Hong Kong Polytechnic School in 1980, Wong become a television production assistant. Following work on several television drama series, he began working as a scriptwriter for television and then later for films. Wong’s directorial debut As Tears Go By (1988) marked his unique visual style and was screened as part of the ‘Critics’ Week’ at the 1989 Cannes International Film Festival. Wong’s next film Days of Being Wild, which featured several of Hong Kong’s beautiful and popular young stars, won five Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Film and Best Director. His following effort, Ashes of Time (1994), varied greatly in genre, successfully subverting the conventions of the period martial-arts drama. During a break in the post-production of Ashes of Time, Wong made Chungking Express (1994), which later became a cult hit. Following this came Fallen Angels, which received considerable critical success when it was premiered at the 1995 Toronto Film Festival. In 1997, Happy Together premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where it garnered a Best Director Award for Wong. In 2000, Wong’s In The Mood For Love was also awarded Cannes accolades, including Best Actor for Tony Leung Chiu-wai and the Technical Prize.

With In the Mood for Love, the focus centres on the jilted figures of Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk). Their isolation and longing is transformed into a melange of intersecting paths and poignantly shared moments in which the possibility of a soulful connection is entertained. Again, Wong’s arbitrary rhetoric finds expression in the poetic and brightly drenched tones of his unique filmic aesthetic, and his much-loved themes of loneliness, isolation, and longing rise to the surface. However, whilst In the Mood for Love incorporates all of his usual stylistic and thematic traits, it also ascends to a new level where the cultural significance of Wong’s setting is explored in greater detail.
(Source - Internet)

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