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
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
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
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.
simply, the best any Wong Kar-Wai production has ever looked on
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.
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.
from the odd line of slightly simplified dialogue, the subtitles
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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
Virgin Spot (20secs)
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.
"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
DVD Credits - I'll be buying these guys a drink next time
they're in town!!
Reception - DVD-Rom features, Wallpaper, Screensaver, and
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)
Concept For France
Concept For Korea
Concept For Germany
Concept For Hong Kong
Design Concepts For In The Mood For Love
Wong Kar-Wai World Tour (4 mins)
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.
66 stills, presented in both thumbnail and full-size format.
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
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)
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
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
cardboard inner-sleeve is beautifully designed, with lavish images
of Tony Leung and Maggie
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.
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...