Most critics consider In the Mood for Love to be one of 2002’s greatest works of cinema. It is the story of the forbidden love between two separately married paramours.
In the Mood for Love revolves around the lives of Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan who move into the same apartment building and fall in love with each other. Both are isolated by absent spouses, which is cinematically represented by the director’s decision to not include them in the film. 2046 is the sequel to director/writer Wong Kar Wai’s masterpiece picking up where In the Mood for Love left off.
The plot creatively blends future, past and present sexual liaisons of Ladies’ Man Chow Mo Wan in nonlinear order. 2046 spins a stunning yarn of lost memories and regret.
The number 2046 is that of Mrs. Chan’s Hong Kong apartment where unattainable love and passion is symbolized. It is also the date of Hong Kong’s final integration into China, as dramatized in archival footage. The historical and cultural content of the film includes references to Japan’s occupation of China. A stirring score, brilliant direction and composition mark Wong Kar Wai’s style. Kar Wai’s style includes framing the action off center with an architectural obstruction in the foreground. This is used for narrative parallel in several scenes in which the actors are distancing themselves from each other (breaking up, fighting, etc.). Kar Wai blocks the action so as to distance us from the actors as well. At other times Kar Wai’s composition serves to frame the action and to create a geography of space. The director whimsically departs from realism in his use of slow motion, montage, silence and dubbed-in synthetic audio, which contributes to the film’s thematic representation.
The audience will delight in the performance of seductive Ziyi Zhang who also starred in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and House of Flying Daggers, as well as the womanizing Tony Leung Chiu-wai from Hero. According to the Ritz Movie Theater film bill, the director said, “Tony Leung appears as a writer living from hand to mouth producing seedy novellas, no longer In the Mood for Love’s aspiring writer and almost faithful husband.” There are some comedic moments in the film such as the banging wall scene coming from the zealous passion of the neighbors. Mostly, however, 2046 is nostalgic and poetic, as Chow never discovers a new soul mate.
“Recurring musical motifs characterize not only the characters in the story, but a sense of loss in the many strands of nocturnal worlds from Hong Kong to Singapore and of lovers’ promises and betrayals,” Kar Wai said in the Ritz movie theater Film Bill.
The film is visually stunning including a plot line dealing with the love of an android and a science-fiction monorail that would make Fritz Lang jealous. Forbidden or unattainable love is a universal theme. 2046 is the story of one man’s life as he deals with the inability to find a perfect lover. Wong Kar Wai is the first Chinese director to win the Best Director Award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.
John Funk can be reached at email@example.com.