In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love

GC: SP16
The backdrop of Kar-Wai’s latest film, In the Mood for Love, is two claustrophobic apartments in Hong Kong filled to the brim with people, cozy furniture, and romantic wallpaper. Wan Kar-Wai presents audiences with two couples desperate for intimacy. The neighbors Chow and Su become cautious friends in the midst of their loneliness. With swelling music, slow motions shots, and the use of warm romantic colors Kar-Wai creates an irresistibly romantic version of Hong Kong’s urban life. As Chow and Su slip past each other on the narrow streets of Hong Kong the music swells, and tension builds between to two estranged characters. Kar-Wai craftily uses limited space to create an intimate viewing experience of the characters in their constrictive lives. The limited space gives off the feeling of being trapped in an urban setting, trapped in a job, and even trapped in a stagnant relationship. While I believe that film is an amazing medium for expressing yearning and loneliness, one must question what the two characters are truly longing for. Chow and Su are portrayed in a strange dance of courtship; but when accidentally being “trapped” in a room together over night as the landlord hosts a Mahjong session the two find themselves distraught rather than intimate. While Chow and Su attempt to pursue each other when faced with an opportunity to be truly close they hunker away from the landlord and exhibit signs of alienation even when they are together.

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