Hungkat’s review published on Letterboxd:
*Maggie and Tony’s romance in Zhang Yimou’s Hero brought me back to this...pain*
Pain’s sitting motionless ... hands trembly hold onto the railing of the stairs -
Inevitable encounters interlace with the pain of betrayal, Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan with their timorous sincerity, sucked me deep into the vortex of an unknown and unoccupied space. Engulfed by the smoke clouds in Mr. Chow’s office, his lips twitch a few times trying to utter something out under this magnetic confrontation between two bodies. A man and a woman - Two victims of a forbidden affair learn to share, expressing heartbreaks and casually falling in love. True feelings and expressions come like a wordless poem. Metaphysical momentum deliberately slows down each soft movement as love is capable of making time stand still. Wet corners of the eyes, quivering motions of the arm launched and lowered, tilted heads and lips are about to burst into words again. The fragility of a beautiful romance, their desires are universally altruistic and mysterious where sadness frequently fluctuates and carves a peephole for nostalgic intimacy.
That era has passed. Nothing that belonged to it exists anymore.
Wong Kar Wai has chosen a unique way of telling the story not by flourishing any dramatic circumstance but embellishing it with small details and symbolic sophistication – Chow and Su’s pieces of furniture get mixed up together on the day they coincidentally move into their cramped apartment, as if it were predicting a complicated relationship ahead. Just a lipstick-stained cigarette butt in the ashtray is enough to let Chow know “I’ve been here.” Richly obsessive images and music blossom in such brimful sensory enchantment: The magnificent beauty of Maggie Cheung in tight dresses, dense smoke floating, soaked by sudden rain, alleyway’s fateful meeting; peeking at the misty car windows where hands are secretly touched and the telephone rings for no one…What a luxurious picture with an elegantly poetical rhythm, wherein some scenes, characters are seemingly frozen within the frame, ravishingly tantalized like a classic painting that is glinting of ethereal eroticism. The eargasmic repetitions of songs reverberate, as the end of every note begins falling but still clinging onto the love that has been unbearably compressed for too long. Quizás Quizás Quizás’s melody is rustically swooning while Shigeru Umebayashi's Yumeji theme stretches the strings of broken souls. Walking through the small street with hidden feelings yet none of them has the courage to reveal their sobbing hearts. What do you talk about when you talk about love ?
In The Mood for Love is an amorous balladry of longing, whispering its poignant tune into a ruined wall and then permanently sealing it off with muddy grass. A bittersweet dance for the heated sensation with one step forward and two steps backward, declaring a mood for love, a mood piece that no person could ever forget even if it's merely an old sensual whiff of the long-gone years. Recalling the unstatedly fervent passion which was wholly irresistible. Memories become both vivid and blurry akin to perfumy air that roamed around the glowing crimson corridor, wistfully passing through room no. 2046.