Tuesday, January 10, 2006

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Cast : Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung

Even though this was on the list of my movies to review, it was not on top of the stack. But today I had a conversation with one of my friends about moral high ground. That prompted me to pick this up.

This is an old(er) movie. But not many may have seen it. So this is my way of recommending it to all the readers of this blog.

Also in a time where morality seems to be measured by whom (race, gender etc) you love rather than by how you love, this movie speaks volumes.

The plot is fairly simple. A simple story of neighbors - a man and a woman, who find out that their spouses are having an affair. Somehow this catalyzes a strong friendship between them. And that is the only thing simple about this movie.

The treatment of the movie makes the viewer almost feel like a voyeur - lurking behind doors and corners watching them as they keep denying their longing and love for each other. By the latter half of the movie one is rooting for them to shake off these bonds and embrace their attraction.

The movie is set in the 60's Hong Kong, a time when women still wore beautiful dresses and men were gentlemen who wore suits and jazz was the preferred genre of music. (I always contend that the world was a much better place when men wore suits and listened to jazz.)

One is driven to think "Why don't they get together? Their spouses are already cheating on them."

That is where their sense of true fidelity and decency comes to the fore. It makes the case that morality is not a relative term. It is a set of ideals that one has to strive for no matter what turmoils surround you. And using someone else's immoral conduct to justify one's behaviour is just a poor excuse for our own weaknesses.

'Random Hearts' starring Harrison Ford and the oh-so-beautiful and charming Kristin Scott Thomas, did try to explore a similar subject. But for any story dealing with human emotions, subtlety is the key. And Wong Kar Wai literally gives an education about the art of silent glances and unspoken emotion in this movie

My final word on this is a quote from this movie itself.

"You notice things if you pay attention"

My Rating : 4.5/5

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