In the Mood for Love ★★★★½

Wong Kar Wai acts as a master orchestrator as his subjects intermingle in what is a dreamscape of an atmosphere.

Possessing one of the best leitmotifs modern cinema could have, 'In the Mood for Love' is romantically discreet and aesthetically revolutionary so much so that the first few shots are enough to overtly signal its singularity as a work of art.

Photographing the inanimate and animate with equal poise, colouring and designing the rich imagery around the subconscious of the two leads and cultivating a rather vicarious relationship within them, the filmmaker looks to produce an experience like never before on screen.

"Surreal", "dream-like" and "lyrical" would be three adjectives to have already been overused to describe this film. I would say that the film successfully breaks out of every tag it is forcefully given. There is no predictability and consolidation to what ensues but just the emotional communication, be it in the controlled use of words or the much focused body language of the couple. I could not spot one bloated romantic trope. The director always prefers an honest illustration of romance- neither idealized nor cynical in order to appease an audience.

Few films match the measured collaboration of artistic vision and technical perfection seen in this film. The camera is a gliding observer that wants to touch each and every detail it can; the delicacy, the texture, the intimacy. It employs the foreground as a LoC, with alternating tactile foregrounds like glass, furniture, grills and walls. The barricade resembles the uncontrollable separation between the lovestruck duo. Other ostensible motifs like clocks, rain, and the colour "Red", to name but three, may align to the physical as well as spacio-temporal status of their relationship at the time. And a sound design that intentionally jumbles crowded dialogues, amplifies off-screen conversations and confidently stylizes the most beautiful portions through exceptional choices of music only retains, if not proliferate, the artful substance at hand.

Apart from a third act that was a tad shorter on tenacity, the film peruses "that era" quite innocuously through the two broken souls we're empathizing with.

[Spoiler Alert]
Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung act like they are made for each other, except they're not. Their fine movements, of course under the auspices of the screenplay/director, catalyze their interactions.
[End of Spoiler]

Mrs.Chan(played by Cheung) is aggressively sexualized by the camera that flows through her curves veiled by her idiosyncratic attire.

The other players do not have enough screen time but do their bit effortlessly. The choice of restricting some particular information puzzled me initially but explained itself after springing a few surprises later on, besides being imperative to the closure in the narrative.

Overall, 'In the Mood for Love' is in a league of its own, no doubt. Whichever parts of the plot I felt tepid should alter my judgment when I come back later(which is certain).

If putting yourself in the mood for love and contemplation interests you, this film should more than help.

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