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In the Mood for Love (Criterion Collection) (2000)

Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Maggie Cheung, more...
Director: Wong Kar-Wai, Wong Kar-Wai
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Hong Kong, Criterion Collection
Languages: Cantonese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

For his first film since the 1997 Hong Kong handover, auteur filmmaker Wong Kar-wai directs this moody period drama about unrequited love that, like his earlier work, swoons with romantic melancholy. Set in a Shanghaiese enclave in Hong Kong in 1962, the film centers on two young couples who rent adjacent rooms in a cramped and crowded tenement. Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) works as a secretary in an export company while her husband's job at a Japanese multinational keeps him away on extended business trips. Across the hall, Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) works as a newspaper editor and is married to a woman who is also frequently out of town. Neither respective spouse is ever shown in full, instead they are shot from the back or obscured by walls and furniture. Li-zhen and Chow soon strike up a cordial -- if tenative -- friendship. Chow begins to suspect that his wife's long absences are not entirely business related when he stops in unannounced at her office to discover that she is not there. Later, a colleague tells him that he saw his wife with another man. The icing on the cake comes when Chow notices that Li-zhen's handbag is identical to his wife's while Li-zhen discovers that Chow is wearing a tie that she gave her husband; it doesn't take long for them to realize that their spouses are sleeping together. Drawn together by shame and anger, Chow and Li-zhen reveal nothing of their discoveries to their partners. While working through their guilt by imagining how their adulterous spouses first hooked up and rehearsing interrogations, the pair slowly fall in love in spite of their determination to uphold their end of their marital vows. In the Mood for Love, which was screened in competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, barely made it to the fest's final slot; Wong Kar-wai was reportedly shooting scenes in Cambodia a week prior to the festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

Please note that this disc contains the movie. If you'd like to see the bonus disc, please rent In the Mood for Love: Bonus Disc.

You might also enjoy:
Chungking Express
Leung was featured in Wong's earlier, lighter tales of heartbreak

Happy Together
And Wong-favorite Leung also starred in this beautifully filmed gay romance

Irma Vep
Cheung fans will eat her up in this droll, self-reflexive French film

Read GreenCine's exclusive interview with Tony Leung Chiu Wai.

"I love to do different movies, different roles, but usually Wong Kar-wai's movies are the most challenging," Tony Leung Chiu Wai tells Jonathan Marlow in a conversation about his approach to roles in some of Hong Kong's most widely regarded and successful films, including Wong's recent 2046. Full article >>

GreenCine Member Ratings

In the Mood for Love (Criterion Collection) (2000)
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8.16 (629 votes)
In the Mood for Love (Criterion Collection) (Bonus Disc) (2000)
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8.40 (62 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Poetic graceful emotional freefall by ewee December 27, 2005 - 4:03 PM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
After seeing Chungking Express, I didn't want to rush this one...I waited for a rainy melancholy day, and it was perfect.

More gorgeous camerawork, and the actors are luminous, elegant and brilliant. They convey the quiet, simmering pain and love throughout the film--not a gesture or glance is wasted. Every element builds the film--the gauzy curtains, the oddly institutional and garish hotel, the heavy rain, the old faded posters along a narrow alleyway.

It will break your heart, but quietly and softly. Let it in, and take a moment of silence to soak it up.

Achieves cinematic perfection
by Eoliano January 15, 2003 - 8:36 AM PST
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful

Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love is an intensely romantic, if elegiac, chamber piece that reaches inside the souls of its main characters and gives us a glimpse of what might be.

The relationship between Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) and Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leong) evolves with such quiet restraint, that we expectantly await its ultimate conflagration, hoping they will leave their cheating spouses and cave in to their passion. We want them to run away together and set the screen on fire. Instead, they remain sexually shy, but intimate friends, who continue to address one another formally, as though they are afraid of turning into their wayward spouses. With the passage of time and the intervention of circumstances, they gradually drift apart, although their love never dies.

Christopher Doyle and Pin Bing Lee's striking cinematography perfectly captures Hong Kong in the 60s. Wong Kar-Wai's skillful use of music hypnotizes us, and Mike Galasso's original music casts a fervent and melancholic spell. The editing by William Chang is exceptional, as are his contributions as set and costume designer.

The film is about true love, though ultimately, it remains unrequited. When the film is over, its compassion resonates inside us. In the Mood for Love achieves cinematic perfection.

Slow, Sad and Stunning by rakdaddy June 18, 2002 - 11:43 AM PDT
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Wow. I didn't quite know what to expect from this movie, especially after seeing a hyperactive flick like Fallen Angels. In the Mood for Love is the opposite, style-wise: slow, ponderous, and patient. It's also beautiful and moving, with excellent performances by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as neighbors struggling with their spouses' affairs and their love for each other. Mix in the colors of the clothing and the sounds of early 60s Hong Kong radio, and you have a wonderful picture.

This DVD is excellent, by the way. Has Criterion ever done a bad DVD? Doubt it. Good extras on this first DVD, with deleted scenes, some audio commentary, and a nice short showing off early Hong Kong Cinema.

More reviews for titles in this product:

Cannes Film Festival & More - 2000
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
"If you like Croneberg you may also like... "
A random list of goodness with no particular theme -- really!

see all lists

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