In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love ★★★★★

Notes for "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"


I thought we wouldn’t be like them. But I was wrong.


I can't remember how this idea formed, but sometime after having read some excerpts of Haruki Murakami's work and actually reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I started thinking about how limited we are in knowing one another. I'd argue that Murakami obsesses over this idea, too. You think you know someone well: you know them intimately, you know them personally, you know them wholly... and then suddenly, you realize that you don't know them, you can't know them, you never have known them.

For Murakami, this seems to involve people walking out. Significant others disappear. Loved ones vanish. They're there, and then they're gone.

In In the Mood for Love, the limitations of knowing someone else points to an ugly itch that can't quite be scratched, calls upon something a bit more harrowing than not being able to actually know or understand someone else: this film begs the question of how well we can know ourselves, if we can understand anything at all.


I didn’t think you’d fall in love with me.

I didn’t either. I was only curious to know how it started. Now i know. Feelings can creep up just like that.


This film asks wordlessly how we fall in love just as much as it explicitly asks how we fall out of love. The obscurity of unknown desires & betrayal, of ambiguous love & friendship, of collapsing time & space are made physical in every constructed, meticulous framed shot. Husbands are hidden behind walls. Wives are partially in the picture. Wong Kar-wai offers visual half-truths and asks the viewer to fill in the rest. Who's on the other end of the telephone? Who's sitting down at dinner? Where did everyone go?

Moments collapse into each other until time is nothing but a prop itself. This movie is like a dream: not just in its haziness or fluidity, but in its ephemerality, too. It's there, and then it's gone. Mrs. Chan and Chow are nothing to each other, and then they're everything; the something in between happens over noodles and in the rain and against a wall and in the recreation of infidelity and through collaboration and by chance & misfortunate.


He remembers those year, as though looking through a dusty window pane, the past is something he could see, but not touch. And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.


How much do we know about ourselves? With that limited knowledge, how well can we let someone else in? I don't think there's an easy answer to this. What I do know is that the history of love is one colored by longing & desire despite our inevitable shortcomings. Love doesn't always make sense. More often than not, love isn't fair. We don't always get what we want, or who we want. We can try to anticipate it, try to rehearse the worst, but life will press on, with or without us prepared.

And we press on, I think, because as ugly as it can be -- sometimes, sometimes, sometimes you get a little glimpse of someone's soul, and maybe it's the color of red or of desire or of green or of understanding, and that makes everything else moot. What little we get, we can take... and then sometimes we make art of it to preserve it, so when everything else fades, we have something left to remember from that fleeting moment of knowing.


also.......... Tony Leung? take my number

Block or Report

Tay liked these reviews