In the Mood For Love (2000)Directed by: Kar Wai Wong
Starring: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Tagline: "A not quite love story"
Set in 1960's Hong Kong, Mrs Chan (Maggie Cheung) and Mr Chow (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) move in next door to each other with their respective partners.
They are sharing apartments with two separate families and during the move some of their possessions get mixed up. This is when Mr Chow and Mrs Chan first meet, but it is not the last.
They both settle in to their apartments well and go about their lives. For some strange reason, we never see the faces of Mr Chan and Mrs Chow, which is important but it is not explained fully.
Everything is not what it seems, however, as Mrs Chow keeps working late and Mr Chan is always away on business. Mrs Chan and Mr Chow try not to notice and keep going on with their lives.
As much as they try though, the two can't live that way forever and they seem to be drawn towards each other. Will they get together or not?
This is a very different Hong Kong movie from what has been released recently, but it is extremely good for it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, not all Hong Kong movies are about people kicking each other in the head.
It seems to be more of a dramatic film as the romance is very restrained. The way the romance is handled is what will either make you love the film or hate it, as it is portrayed as an "almost, but not quite" type of relationship and it does take its own time to play out.
The cinematography of this film is stunning, giving it a very unique and intimate feel. Most of it is shot indoors, but it never seems claustrophobic. Christopher Doyle the cinematographer displayed the talent here that would later lead to his brilliant work on the film Hero (2002).
Special mention must also got to the soundtrack, which not only suits the era perfectly, but helps give the film character over the many scenes in which it features. In particular a cello piece is a standout on the soundtrack, and is probably what you will remember most about the film apart from the food and smoking. I have been meaning to buy this soundtrack, as I really enjoyed the music and have bought the soundtracks for Oldboy and Kung Fu Hustle in the past.
I have a crush on Maggie Cheung as she is so beautiful in every role she plays. In this particular movie she reminded me of a friend who is always dressed up and looking her best whenever I see her.
Tony Leung is meat and three vegetables in terms of being so reliable in this type of role. Of course it would be boring to eat every day, but it is very solid and you know what you are getting beforehand.
Overall, I would recommend this movie to fans of romantic stories who don't mind if the pace is slow and the story works itself over it's own time. I haven't seen 2046 as yet, but I can imagine it would be fairly similar from what I have heard about it.