I watched In The Mood For Love on DVD yesterday. It’s an absolutely gorgeous movie, set in Hong Kong in the 60s. One of the cover blurbs says it’s ‘like Brief Encounter remade by Kubrick and Scorsese’; I’m not sure about the Kubrick/Scorsese thing, but the comparison to Brief Encounter is very apt. It’s a film about two people not quite having an illicit relationship, or at least not quite having a sexual relationship.
Apart from anything else, it just looks great. it has a real period feel—not than I’m in a position to judge the accuracy of the details. It’s full of colour, but mainly a subdued palette, all greens and oranges and browns, off-whites, soft blues. And nearly all the action takes place in confined spaces, in apartment blocks, offices, alleys, noodle shops, and in artificial light. And it looks cramped: looking through it to find some screen grabs, it was striking how often objects intrude in the foreground.
Maggie Cheung drifts through the film looking exquisite and fragile in a sequence of beautiful cheongsams, and Tony Leung is is also extremely watchable, if not quite so fabulously attired. It’s moody and atmospheric and generally a pleasure to watch.