Welcome to Framed, a column at Cinematical that celebrates the artistry of film -- one frame at a time
Director Wong Kar-wai and cinematographer Christopher Doyle collaborated on a number of fantastic films -- everything from Chungking Express and Fallen Angels to the period film Ashes of Time. Their work together is marked by lush visuals, smoldering intensity, and amazing performances from the actors they place in their projects. No single film exemplifies this quite as as well as In the Mood for Love.
Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung star in this period drama set during the 1960's. They move into next door apartments with their respective spouses and learn that their significant others are having an affair. Stung, they form a bond to try and understand how this could have happened -- and wind up developing feelings for each other in the process.
The narrative synopsis makes In the Mood for Love (which gets its title from the Bryan Ferry version of the song in the film) sound like it could be your typical Hollywood romantic drama -- but believe me, that couldn't be less true. What Wong and Doyle have crafted is a beautifully subtle tale filled with a sense of lingering passion and longing. It's an incredibly romantic film, but not in the way most western audiences view romance. This take on love is restrained and conservative. Those expecting a third act featuring Leung and Cheung coming together with stars in their eyes are in for a surprise.