Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) and Mr. Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) move into the same apartment complex on the same day, starting a friendship that will take on intimate importance when they discover both of their respective partners are having clandestine affairs they are supposed to know nothing about.
Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love made my list of the 50 best films 2000 – 2009. Here’s what I wrote about it in that particular article:
“While I personally find Wong Kar-wai’s Chunking Express to be his most invigorating effort, In the Mood for Love is so lyrically mesmerizing taking my eyes off of it proves to be an impossibility every time out. Both Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung steam up the screen, while Mark Lee Ping-bin and Christopher Doyle’s sumptuous photography is as dreamlike and ephemeral as the central romance is sizzling and passionate. Moving at its own methodical pace this movie raises my temperature to boiling within the first 15 minutes, its romantic lyricism a thing I willingly revel in.”
This is a movie that must be experience, must be felt, must be allowed to envelope the viewer like warm intoxicating waters. Wong Kar-wai’s achievement is something beyond extraordinary, compelling in every way and understanding the human condition like few other modern dramas have. No wonder it is one of only two films from the 2000’s (David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. being the other) to make Sight and Sound Magazine’s critics poll (conducted only once a decade) as one of the 50 greatest ever made.
There’s plenty I could say, but I find myself wanting to keep things as brief as possible here for some reason, mainly because I personally think the magic of this movie is in the discovery of its nuances without any foreknowledge. Where it goes, what it does, the things that happen to its two protagonists, these are fevered dreamscapes full of imagination yet events grounded in a concrete reality impossible to dismiss. In the Mood for Love is a masterpiece, plain and simple, and I dare anyone to watch it and not feel the same the very second its dramatics have come to their bracing, visually and intellectually stimulating conclusion.
In the Mood for Love is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 1.67:1/1080p transfer. As stated in the included booklet: “Supervised by director of photography Mark Lee Ping-bin, this new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit 2K Datacine from a 35mm interpositive. Image System's Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain and noise management, and flicker reduction, while MTI's DRS was used to clean up dirt, debris and scratches and to fix splices, warps and jitter.”
In the Mood for Love comes to Blu-ray in Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and includes optional English subtitles. Again, from the included booklet: “The original 5.1 surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm magnetic master. Clicks, thumps, hiss and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube’s integrated workstation.”
· @ In the Mood for Love (51:12) – Exceptional making-of documentary composed by the director himself. Covers just about every aspect of the film’s production. Extremely well done.
· Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary
i. Room 246 (8:01)
ii. Postcards (8:23)
iii. The Seventies (8:56)
iv. The Last Encounter (7:49) (No Commentary)
· Hua Yang De Nian Hua (2:32) – Unique short film made in 2000 created by Wong Kar-wai from print elements discovered in a California warehouse.
· Wong Kar-Wai
i. Interview (22:15) – Conducted by film critic Michel Ciment and filmmaker Hubert Niogret, this interview piece recorded at the Cannes Film Festival is a treasure trove of information aficionados of the motion picture cannot afford to miss.
ii. Cinema Lesson (15:52) – Another piece recorded during the Cannes Film Festival, this fascinating ‘cinema lesson’ is a quick, precise and masterfully conducted exercise discussing Wong Kar-wai’s tendencies involving ideas, emotions and the editing process.
· Toronto International Film Festival Press Conference (43:33) – Better than normal Q&A held after the film’s initial 2000 Toronto screening involving actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung.
· On In the Mood for Love (23:49) – Film critic Tony Rayns discusses the importance of In the Mood for Love and where the film resides within Wong Kar-wai’s filmography.
· The Soundtrack (8:03) – Rayns again, this time dissecting the film’s uniquely iconic soundtrack.
· Theatrical Trailer Gallery
The Blu-ray also comes with a 44-page Illustrated Booklet featuring an essay by novelist and film critic Steve Erickson and the Liu Yi-chang story that provided inspiration for the film.
In the Mood for Love is one of the great films of the past decade (2000 – 2009). It is also one of the very best films directed by the great Wong Kar-wai. Criterion’s Blu-ray upgrade of the title is extraordinary, and fans owe it to themselves to add this masterpiece to their collections as quickly as they can.