in the mood for love(2000)
director: wong kar-wai
maggie cheung, tony leung

. Set in 1962 Hong Kong, Wong Kar-wai’s film might just as well be described as being set in the vicinity of actress Maggie Cheung’s long, pretty neck, so rarely does the film stray from tight close-ups.

Cheung and Tony Leung play tenants of an apartment building in the impossibly cramped, overcrowded city who, over the course of a few weeks, slowly come to the conclusion that their respective spouses are having an affair together. All the while, they’ve been developing an attraction to each other, so their next move should be obvious...

But it isn’t. Wong Kar-wai has shown a genius for delirious, elliptical storytelling with films like Chungking Express and Days of Being Wild, but in his new film, the delirium turns into a trance, and the tortured determination of his two near-lovers to avoid scandal brings the film to a series of halting, frustrating near-endings. For the first time in a long time, I found myself longing to see a conventional, romantic clench.

Moment by moment, the film can be delicious but, by the end, you wonder if something was lost in the translation.