The romantic drama In The Mood For Love marks the return of director Wong Kar-Wai, who was introduced to American audiences when Quentin Tarantino selected Chungking Express for distribution in 1995. Fallen Angels and Happy Together followed, each film distinctive while advancing a now signature style. In The Mood For Love again seems to break new ground while steadfastly indulging the director's obsession with popular music and frequent repetition of musical themes. This rigorous, musical technique serves a story that is both personal and a resonant cultural allegory.
In The Mood For Love spans from 1962 to 1967, detailing the parallel lines and convergences of two people whose mates are having an affair together. The isolation and frustration of the couple only rarely give way to euphoria, and the more emphatic their contact becomes, the more ambiguous it seems. The period landscape becomes as foreboding as the romance, auguring the Cultural Revolution.
The languid pace will make the film unbearable to many, but to Wong Kar-Wai,that pace is precisely the point. The space he creates allows for emotional moments I'd wager have never before been captured so effectively on film, born of a brilliant harmony of image, music, editing and performance. Wong Kar-Wai's regular cinematographer Christopher Doyle and editor William Chang provide sterling support, and Hong Kong cinema vets Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung work alchemy despite script, schedule, and location challenges that protracted the production past the one-year mark. In The Mood For Love is an intelligent, deeply felt achievement and one of the very best films of 2001.