If you’ve only seen Wong Kar-Wai’s "In the Mood for Love" on your home screens, believe us when we say seeing it in the cinema makes it even more beautiful and larger-than-life. Watching it the way it was intended to be experienced, projected on the big screen, one gets all the more transported and deeply immersed in the enchanting time and place the director and his team created back in the day.
The film, made in 2000 but set in 1962 Hong Kong captures a period of romantic conflict between the two main characters played by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. Cheung and Leung play neighbors who initially shared nothing more than casual exchanges but who slowly develop a sensually fraught co-dependence as they help each other make sense of the betrayal of their significant others.
The masterful orchestration of the overall melancholic mood, the characters’ internal conflicts, the fashion, the lighting, the music, and the dialogue, all brought together reminds you how Anthony Bourdain once described his ride at the Star Ferry to Kowloon at night with the Hong Kong lights behind him: “It’s a gift, a dream, a curse. The best thing, the happiest thing, yet also the loneliest thing in the world.”
“In the Mood For Love” was nominated for a Palme d’Or at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, where Leung won as Best Actor and cinematographer Christopher Doyle earned the Technical Grand Prize. It was also a runaway winner at the following year’s Hong Kong Film Awards, which gave both leads the Best Actor and Best Actress awards, a Best Direction honor for Wong Kar-Wai and both the Best Costume & Make-up Design and Best Film Editing for William Chang.
The movie has since been considered an Asian classic and included in many credible lists of global cinema’s Greatest Films of All Time—not only for its brilliant filmmaking but for its memorable exploration of human emotions and societal taboos. Seeing it in the cinema with an audience with which you can share the humor, the tension, the awe, and even the heartbreak the film contains hikes up the whole film-viewing experience. It doesn’t hurt that it’s the restored 4K version of the movie.
“In The Mood for Love” is one of the films featured in the ongoing QCinema International Film Festival 2022. Unfortunately, it’s only scheduled for two screenings. You can still catch the last one at 8:40 PM tonight, November 21, at Powerplant Mall but call first because tickets are moving fast.