In the Mood for Love

Cantonese, English and Czech subtitles
Directing: Wong Kar-wai
Starring: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Maggie Cheung
Distributor: Block 2 Distribution


Wong Kar-wai‘s In the Mood for Love is a stylistically outstanding masterpiece – an amalgam of images, music, speed and slowness, gestures, costume designs, colours, space, platonic love and sadness, all under the veil of nostalgia. And it is not just for nostalgia that the effect of this film has only increased over time. The chance to watch a restored copy more than 20 years after the premiere is simply a “must see”.

In cooperation with three cinematographers, Wong created an epitome of romantic melodrama about a couple drawn to each other by unfortunate circumstances – their spouses are having an affair. Hong Kong stars Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung play Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow whose lives become entangled when they move to adjacent apartments on the same day (and perhaps sooner). As they later realize their partners’ infidelity, they do not want to act the same. We can see their loneliness, recurring situations, gestures, and musical themes and the mystery of their true, yet unfulfilled, love. Their love must be kept a secret from the world, even more than their spouses’ affair.

The plot takes place in 1960s Hong Kong in extremely stylized film sets and narrow streets that facilitate the concept of closeness and distance – not only between the two main protagonists. Wong clearly alludes to the political landscape in Hong Kong. The city’s transitional status means it is destined to change irreversibly. In 2046 (In the Mood for Love is followed four years later by a sequel entitled 2046), fifty years from the British handover of the island to China, everything may change fundamentally. Given the situation in Hong Kong in recent years, the melancholic song about love and finality sounds all the more powerful.