In the Mood for Love (2000)
Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong
In the Mood for Love might not be my all time favourite Wong Kar Wai film (that honour goes to Days of Being Wild), but damn, is it good. Let's start with the visuals - I don't know how Christopher Doyle and Lee Ping Bin did it, but literally every single frame of this film can be turned into a poster that I would happily hang up on my wall. William Chang gets some credit here too for his production design work, and along with the genius that is Wong Kar Wai, you get some of the most beautiful imagery ever captured on film. I know, a bold statement with major hints of exaggeration, but that's just how I honestly feel. I was lucky enough to have caught a 35mm screening of this at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and seeing a film like this in its natural form is an experience that is hard to put in words. Considering how much additional footage was shot during the filming process, it pains me to consider what more is out there in the vaults of wherever Wong Kar Wai keeps his stock footage (which I'm sure would be a huge vault given the way he works). I won't go into all the production qualms that came both before (Summer in Beijing) and during/after (2046) the development of In the Mood for Love, as there isn't enough space here to cover all that in full detail. There's so much rich historical context that accompanies this film, but when all is said and done, there's no sense of what could've been outside of the film itself. The experience of watching In the Mood for Love is completely satisfying for anyone who has a tendency to appreciate a form of cinema that favours a more quiet and thoughtful approach to the medium. Wong Kar Wai has a way of creating overly romantic stories, without overtly creating conventional love stories in the process. In the Mood for Love is a story about an affair, but you'd be hard pressed to classify it as such simply because it has a bounding sense of ingenuity that refuses to conform to anything before it. And to end off, I have no choice but to link to a deleted scene that maybe falters my previous argument of not dwelling on what could've been. But it's honestly too awesome not to include here.