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In the Mood for Love(2000)
In Hong Kong in 1962, Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen (Mrs. Chan) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite until a discovery regarding their respective spouses ignites a more complicated and intimate bond between them.
For more about In the Mood for Love and the In the Mood for Love Blu-ray release, see In the Mood for Love Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on September 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Kar Wai Wong
Writer: Kar Wai Wong
Starring: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Roy Cheung, Paulyn Sun, Ping Lam Siu, Tung Cho Cheung
» See full cast & crew
In the Mood for Love Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, September 19, 2012
Winner of Best Actor Award and Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Wong Kar-wai's "Fa yeung nin wa" a.k.a "In the Mood for Love" (2000) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers and TV spots; documentary on the making of the film; deleted scenes; video interview with director Wong Kar-wai; footage from a press conference featuring actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung; exclusive new interviews with film critic Tony Rayns; and more. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by novelist and film critic Steve Erickson and the Liu Yi-chang story that provided thematic inspiration for the film. In Cantonese, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
They move into the same apartment building on the same day. Both are shy and extremely polite. Both are married but living their lives as if they are single. Both are lonely and frustrated but pretending that they are happy.
Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) tells everyone that asks about her husband that he is a man with a busy schedule. Right now he is in Japan, finalizing an important deal. She misses him but understands that spending time abroad is part of his job. Her job is simple – she is a secretary in a tiny office in a busy district of the city.
Mr. Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) is a news reporter. He has his own office and a big desk. He likes to smoke and often buys soup from a street vendor not too far away from his building. Occasionally, he also stops at a local bar where people know him and his wife. He pretends that he is there to have a drink with her, though he has no idea where she is. The act is to kill any potential rumors about his marriage before they spread around.
Because their apartments are next to each other, Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow often meet. She always wears a beautiful dress and her hair is always impeccably coiffed. He always wears an elegant suit and tie. They smile at each other but rarely talk. Maybe if they were younger and still single…
Then, one day they break their rules and talk about their lives. They reluctantly admit what they have known for a long time - that her husband has a mistress and that his wife has a lover. For a short period of time the realization that the other person is just as miserable makes them feel better.
Eventually, Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow begin teaching each other how to confront their partners. They are supposed to be angry but are not, because the feelings that ought to fuel their anger are missing. Very soon, however, they lose interest in the lessons, and instead fall madly in love with each other.
This most beautiful film, which won the Best Actor Award (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000, tells two very different stories. The first is about two lonely people who fall in love but decide not to follow their hearts. Their struggle to suppress their feelings is beautifully filmed by what was once the most formidable team in Asia: Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai and Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle.
The second story is about a city that no longer exists - the overcrowded and claustrophobic, exotic, irresistibly beautiful Hong Kong from the early '60s. The film is filled with numerous elegant shots of unique buildings, streets and market places which Wong Kar-wai visited as a child after he moved with his family from Shanghai. These elegant shots are essentially the director's memories of this lost city.
The sense of nostalgia that permeates the film is the glue that keeps the two stories together. The first is far easier to embrace, but the second is far more intriguing as the camera often spends a great deal of time studying the environment in which the main characters exist.
In addition to the excellent period locations (some filmed in Thailand and Macau), decors, dresses and hair styles, In the Mood for Love also has a tremendous soundtrack. It combines music by Michael Galasso and Shigeru Umebayashi, who composed the terrific main violin theme, which was initially meant to appear in a film directed by Sejun Suzuki. Excerpts from classic songs performed by the great Nat 'King' Cole are also heard throughout the film.
In the Mood for Love Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.67:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"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.
Scanning: Eclair, Epinay-sur-Seine, France.
Transfer supervisor: Mark Lee Ping-bin.
Colorist: Sheri Eisenberg/Colorworks, Culver City, CA."
The high-definition transfer does not appear to have been struck from a new master produced from a new scan. Detail is mostly good, especially during select close-ups (see screencapture #1 and 2), but noise is constantly present, and during some of the nighttime sequences definition suffers (see screencaptures #13 and 14). There are a few sequences where the age of the source used to produce the high-definition transfer clearly shows; tiny flecks pop up while additional noise creeps in and further affects definition. Generally speaking, color reproduction is good. The variety of reds, yellows, and browns remain stable throughout the entire film, but color saturation is not always consistent. Furthermore, there are some traces of extremely light sharpening (see screencapture #13), but few viewers will likely notice them. On the other hand, there are no traces of excessive degraining. Also, serious banding and aliasing patterns do not overwhelm the high-definition transfer. All in all, the Blu-ray release of this most beautiful film represents an upgrade in quality over the R1 DVD release, but clearly there is still plenty of room for improvement. For the record, the high-definition digital restoration of In The Mood for Love has been approved by cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bin. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
In the Mood for Love Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless audio track is a good enough reason to recommend that you consider replacing your DVD release of In the Mood for Love with the Blu-ray release as soon as possible. Michael Galasso and Shigeru Umebayashi's uncharacteristically beautiful soundtrack gets exactly the type of boost I was hoping it would. Instead of sounding anemic, the excellent violin solos are now thick and well rounded, while Nat 'King' Cole's beautiful voice is notably lush. There are small details, such as falling raindrops, that are also far more pronounced. The dialog is crisp, stable, and well balanced with the music. Also, there are no pops, cracks, audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review. The English translation is excellent.
In the Mood for Love Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
In the Mood for Love Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love is easily one of the most original and beautiful contemporary Asian films you could see. Though many have tried to imitate its visual style and elegance, there really isn't another film quite like it. If you have not yet seen it, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. Previously available only on DVD, In the Mood for Love is now available on Blu-ray via the Criterion Collection. The technical presentation is good, but in the video department there is still plenty of room for improvement. RECOMMENDED.
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After much speculation, the Criterion Collection has posted their full roster of Blu-ray releases for October 2012. Titles include Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love, Joshua Marston's The Forgiveness of Blood, John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday, and Roman ...
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