In The Mood For Love
TFI
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Wong Kar-Wai
Year:
2000
Run Time:
92 mins
Producer: TFI
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Mandarin Stereo, Spanish Stereo.
Subtitles:
English, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
1.66:1
Region:
PAL 2
Genre:
Drama - Not certified
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MOVIE
9/10

The Chans and the Chows take up residence in neighbouring flats during Hong Kong's early 60's.
Thanks to the friendship between the owners of the apartments, the two couples are frequently invited for games of Mahjong, and appear to be perfectly happy.
Often bumping into one another on their evening visits to the local noodle seller, Mrs.Chan (Maggie Cheung) and Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) gradually become friends.
This burgeoning friendship is soon tested as each discovers their partners are having an affair...with their respective spouses.
In an attempt to come to terms with, and understand this devastating news, the pair use an unusual method which brings them closer together than they'd planned...

I have to say that on my first viewing of this hugely publicised and much praised Wong Kar-Wai movie, I was disappointed.
My disappointment stemmed not from the beautiful sets and costumes, the lingering direction or the utterly stunning performances of the two leads, but from the lack of emotional impact the film had on me.
As the two character's emotions are kept so restrained throughout, with only brief moments of expression, it felt as though I was always being kept at arms length, never being allowed the opportunity to experience their feelings.
However, after watching the film for a second and third time, other elements revealed themselves, and I have to say that my inital impression soon faded.

One aspect which is evident whether you're viewing for the first or fifth time, is the wonderful performances of Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung.
There are so many nuances to each of their portrayals that no matter how many superlatives I use, none would be sufficient.
Special mention must also go to Siu Ping-Lam. Although a Props Master by trade, Wong Kar-Wai coaxed him into taking up the role of 'Ping', Mr.Chows close friend, and thank goodness he did.
His appearances are brief, but as his character is the polar opposite of Mr.Chow's, his straight-talking attitude and openness provide some much welcome moments of levity.

Although no doubt made on a minuscule budget in relation to any Hollywood production, Wong Kar-Wai and Li Bing-Ping create a lavish beauty which permeates every scene.
Maggie Cheung's dresses, with their ever changing designs, look amazing.
Tony Leung, whilst not being afforded the same extensive wardrobe, looks great in his shirt and tie ensembles, but forgive me if I surrender to my hormones...Maggie Cheung is simply one of the most gorgeous women on the planet, and looks heart-stoppingly beautiful throughout.

With so many different, and equally superb, elements making up this ultimately sad film, it still frustrates me that I didn't feel as emotionally affected as I had expected.
Somehow, Wong Kar-Wai has created a film which not only shows the emotional restraint of his characters, but also manages to translate that feeling to this viewer.

PICTURE
9/10

Quite simply, the best any Wong Kar-Wai production has ever looked on DVD.
A sharp, highly detailed image is present from start to finish, with the film's costumes and sets looking particularly stunning.
Li Bing-Ping's cinematography is given the respect it deserves, as colour reproduction remains bold and well contained. Just about every aspect of this transfer is top-drawer, with excellent shadow detail, black levels and image clarity.

My only criticism would be that minor artifacting can be seen in the darker scenes, and that at times, the print exhibits mild grain.
However, the transfer rarely contains sparkles or marks, and is basically a pleasure to view.

SOUND
10/10

The beautiful, waltzing violin piece and Nat King-Cole's Latin rumbas are both reproduced exceptionally well in this understated 5.1 mix.
Dialogue is hiss-free, clear and is never overpowered by other elements of the soundtrack.

Although the rear speakers aren't aggressively utilised, ambient noise, such as falling rain and people talking, is perfectly integrated.
The front left and right speakers deliver frequent directional effects, and whilst you don't get bullets flying around you, or massive explosions, this Dolby Digital track is nigh-on perfect.

SUBTITLES
10/10

Apart from the odd line of slightly simplified dialogue, the subtitles are exemplary.
More than anything (and pay attention HKL), the style of the subtitle's translation fits the period of the film, and therefore keeps the movie firmly in its 1960's setting.
Spelling mistakes never occur, and as the subs are perfectly sized and always visible, they are at once readable and unobtrusive.

MENUS
10/10

Whilst each screen is only slightly animated, its accompanying music and quality of design is exceptional.
From the main menu, to each additional menu, the presentation of the disc, and its ease of use, is superb.

EXTRAS
10/10

Easily the most impressive set of extras I've seen for a Hong Kong film, or any film film for that matter. Their quality and variety is incredible, and I came to appreciate numerous aspects of the film on my subsequent viewings, thanks to the information packed into each section of the second disc.

First of all, included on the first disc (containing the film) are the somewhat misleading Theatrical trailer, and a breakdown of the movie's soundtrack.
The film's many memorable pieces of music are all selectable, taking you to the point in the film where they are utilised. Each piece is also accompanied by a very interesting and intelligently written segment of text.

As the second disc is so feature-packed, I will list all the extras, and only comment on the ones which stand out in particular.
In a brilliant move by TFI you are given the option, as the disc loads, to choose your written and subtitle language.
Save for one mistake, this works without a problem and makes the navigation and selection of extras simplicity itself.

GUEST HOUSE

Mr. Chow's Room:
Interview with Wong Kar-Wai (22mins)
A superb interview with the director, which covers just about every detail of the production.

The Chan's Room:
On-Set Report (19mins)

Living Room:
Music From The Film
• Original Soundtrack Sleeves •
• Track Listing Disc 1 & 2 •
• Analysis Of The Music Disc 1 & 2 (Text) •
• Biographies - Michael Galasso & Shigeru Umebayashi (Text) •
• Reflections On The Music - Michael Galasso & Wong Kar-Wai (Text) •
• Virgin Spot (20secs) •

HOTEL

Room 2046:
Deleted Scenes And Alternative Endings
• The Secret Of Room 2046 (8 mins) •
• Singapore (11 mins) •
• The 70's (9 mins) •
• Angkor Wat [Alternative Ending] (8 mins) •
This was my first port of call when I loaded the DVD, and one of the most satisfying.
Each scene comes with an optional commentary by Wong Kar-Wai, and removable subs.
Strangely, the totally impossible alternative ending had a greater impact on me than the films 'real' conclusion, and whilst some may agree or disagree with that opinion, the opportunity to view these deleted scenes is a godsend.

Other Rooms:
"In Front Of And Behind The Camera"

In Front Of The Camera
• Biographies and Filmographies (Text) - Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Rebecca Pan, Ai Chin, Siu Ping-Lam, Chin Tsi-An •

Behind The Camera
Wong Kar-Wai, Christopher Doyle, Mark Li Ping-Bing, William Chang Suk-Pang •

Artistic Credits

Technical Credits

DVD Credits - I'll be buying these guys a drink next time they're in town!!

Reception - DVD-Rom features, Wallpaper, Screensaver, and website links.

RESTAURANT

Hors-d'oeuvre:
• Promo reel (3 mins) •
• Three trailers for Cannes Film Festival (5 mins)•
• Two Original Teasers (1 min) •
• Original Trailer (3 mins) •
• Three French Teasers (2 mins) •
• French Trailer (2 mins) •

Starters:
• Posters •
• Concept For France •
• Concept For Korea •
• Concept For Germany •
• Concept For Hong Kong •
• Design Concepts For In The Mood For Love •

Main Courses:
Wong Kar-Wai World Tour (4 mins)

Deserts:
• Award Listing •

LOCAL BUSINESS

Tailor:
• The Qi Pao Style (1.5 mins) •
• Wardrobe - 19 pictures of Maggie in her numerous dresses •

Hair Dresser (2 mins):
A look at the arduous task of creating Maggie Cheung's 60's hairstyle.

Noodle House:
• Sesame Syrup •
• Pan-fried Noodles •
• Won Ton •
• Chinese Ravioli •
Text-based recipes.

Postcard Kiosk:
66 stills, presented in both thumbnail and full-size format.

Mahjong Club:
• Watch a game of Mahjong (1 min) •
• Play • This interactive game holds the secret to the DVD's hidden extras menu, and whilst I'll not tell you exactly how to uncover them, the game is basically a case of matching-up the tiles.

HIDDEN EXTRAS

Tony Leung: Hua Yang Hua [duet with Niki] (4 mins)

A superb music video which not only highlights Tony Leung's singing voice, but also his innate ability to speak volumes with the merest of glances.

Premiere In Hong Kong (14 mins)
Sadly unsubtitled.

Room 2046
54 stills centred around the setting of room 2046

Two Unreleased Trailers (4 mins)

Two Unreleased Teasers
(1 min)

Concepts For T-shirts By Agnes B.


2046: Title Logo For The Forthcoming Film By Wong Kar-Wai

Film Masterclass: A Mulit-Angle Presentation (16 mins)
Not quite as good as the other Wong Kar-Wai interview, this however is still very much worthy of your time.
Conducted at Cannes, Kar-Wai speaks eloquently in English about working on the film, and of his plans for '2046'.

So, all in all, a rather incredible set of extras...and that's putting it mildly!

PACKAGING
10/10

The unfolding, cardboard inner-sleeve is beautifully designed, with lavish images of Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung.
Although the accompanying booklet is French-only, this doesn't detract from the fact that the whole package, from sleeve to DVD fascia and design, is worthy of its Limited Edition title.

CONCLUSION
10/10

My enjoyment of and feelings towards Wong Kar-Wai's production have gradually transformed after each subsequent viewing, changing my initial impression of a good film to that of an excellent one.
And after spending so much time with the delectable Maggie Cheung, I'm still most definitely In The Mood For Love...

MOVIE
9/10
PICTURE
9/10
SOUND
10/10
SUBTITLES
10/10
EXTRAS
10/10
MENUS
10/10
PACKAGING
10/10
OVERALL
10/10