Visual poem – In the mood for love

தனிமை.. த‌விப்பு.. த‌ய‌க்க‌ம்
Can anyone be able to express freely to the other person honestly ? We have so many filters, we rehearse the dialog before we let it out. There are very few places that we let out whatever that comes to our mind like close friend, in prayer etc., Once Kamalhassan said that he likes the Villain character in any story because he is honest – if he wants to rape a girl, he does it straight forward :). We the normal people hesitate, oscillate, falter, boggle.. at least within ourselves before we express out. This film is about those minute emotions.
Have you heard of the song ‘Oru naalil vaazhkkai’ in Pudhupettai ? The most philosophical song that I have heard of late. That touches upon the loneliness,hesitation,unexpressed emotions of self. How about an entire movie talking about the same. A normal form of cinema deals much with the story like Bhim singh films.. Another form of cinema mostly deals with the visualization of a simple story. The second form is slightly tough to get attached with. But he Wong Kar-wai made it very simple so that we understand what the characters feel about. The beauty is without dialogues and with the help of cinematography and music.

Film : In the mood for love [ Drama / 2001 / Hongkong ]
Director ; Wong Kar-wai
Music : Michael Gallaso / Umebayashi
Cinematography : Christopher Doyle [ Remember.. Rabbit proof fence ].

Plot :
The story is set in 1960s. Two couples move to adjacent apartments simultaneously. The first apartment has Tony a journalist whose wife mostly comes late or travels. “So” is the other lady who stays in the next apartment and her husband travels most of the time. She works as a secretary in a company. They are accompanied by a friendly house owner lady. Though the apartment is a lively place with people our 2 main characters don’t mingle with the crowd, much. Wife of Tony and husband of ‘So’ don’t respond to their spouses properly. Tony and ‘So’ hardly meet each other. they slowly come across each other in the hallway, restaurant, a rainy day.
One day they have dinner in a hotel and in their conversation they realise something. This disturbs them a lot. they slowly develop a friendship but very cautious about their limits. Tony starts writing about martial arts in the paper and So helps him. he stays in hotel for writing without any disturbance. she meets him in the hotel. Time pass on and on a rainy day Tony says to her that he is slowly loosing himself towards her and nothing good is happening. he says that she anyway cannot leave her husband and things won’t change.. also he thinks that they also may end up in a relation. Hence, Tony leaves to Singapore..’So’ tried to stop him but not. She weeps.
After 3 years, Tony gets a blank call from ‘So’ .. he realises that it is her. Tony does a confession at the end. Something happens ..

View :
– The story might look vague but the emotions it leaves us is a simple heartbreak. Director Wong doesn’t much believe in script. He shoots through the year and cuts as he needs them and mostly the story is formed in the editing table and given life by cinematographer and the musician [ of curse , less dialogues ]. The true form of visual communication.
– The music makes the movie lively. Their loneliness, hesitation, sadness, compassion, unexpressed love is expressed in music. Just a cello talks to the audience instead of the characters and they use mostly slow-motion.

– Their interaction is poetic and they take their own time to interact with each other. It’s not like they dash in the hallway and the next moment they sing and dance in Swiss, half-dressed.

– The story has very few characters and they are neatly used. House owner, maid, ugly friend in press, lonely manager in shipping company.
– The first lengthy conversation they make is brilliant as it reveals their personal sadness. The beauty of this cinema is they never show ‘So’s husband and Tony’s wife. they just exist in the story, invisibly in phone / conversations.
– Some single shots express the feelings magically. An empty football ground, a boy, a foot ball from a top Angle shows the summer loneliness of a boy in Kikujiro. Similarly, Jason Bourne [ the master action hero for me ] enters New York in a ship – the shot is just shown with Statue of liberty on one side and his ship on the other side. here, Wong Kar-wai uses rain to show the loneliness. It rains heavily on the lamp post and road in the lonely street at night. Both Tony and ‘So’ mostly exchange silences in place of their dialogues.
– Michael Galasso, Shigeru Umebayashi and Christopher Doyle are definitely the masters who made this visual poem lovely to watch.
– The way the movie ends in Angorwat is lyrical. Just a simple beat and a cello. He talks to the hole in the temple wall and closes. A monk just observes from the top side of the temple. I admire the characterization of Tony and ‘So’ – the casting is perfect with actors having sympathetic faces.
Conclusion
Some movies just pass by with some questions to us. If they lived together this movie would have become one another adultery movie. But the thin line between the hesitation and the romance makes it interesting to watch.
Emotional journey of loneliness and unexpressed love.

-Toto.

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