in the mood for love

moodfor-love5

Life often throws unexpected felicities down my path: a friend sends me the lyrics of an Osvaldo Farrés song: Quizás. You must know it; it’s love long hoped for, long awaited, long delayed… Quizás was a musical eternal of my girlhood, so the message arrived bearing an emotional charge greater than could be imagined. The tune (sung by Nat King Cole) was also used in one of the most perfect films I’ve ever seen: In the Mood for Love. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but Maggie Cheung’s face as she passes her lover in the stairs is as vivid to me now as it ever was; even more so, since it has left the screen and has taken up residence among my memories. It’s a touch me and I’ll fall apart moment- which is why she cannot allow herself, or even her shoulders, to brush against him. Before she turns away, she glances at him and there is such longing in that moment -which seems to last a lifetime because it’s filmed in slow motion- I feel like I am there, so close I can feel her heartbeat in my chest. There is not much that happens plotwise: the setting is Hong Kong in the 60’s and these two play a man and a woman who discover their respective spouses are having an affair. They begin a relationship based on mutual consolation and sadness, arising out of their sense of betrayal. As lust builds between them, they meet for dinner, share cab rides, walk through back alleys, never indulging in the heat we feel. In fact, their bodies and hearts skilled in longing, they spend the entire film denying themselves what they madly crave. Their growing passion is shown in the way their characters glance at each other and move (Maggie Cheung reminds me of a Baudelaire verse: Et même quand elle marche, on dirait qu’elle danse – even as she walks , one would say she dances…) . There are several scenes that show Tony Leung’s back (seated at a desk, walking away in a hotel lobby). Only someone indifferent to the human body would discount the expressiveness of a back. It can show such solitude, such yearning that one could not refrain from embracing it. The movie unfolds slowly, as a real love story would. It is gorgeous, visually rich, with the sumptuous and muted colors of old tapestries and the score is as haunting and beautiful as Wong Kar-wai’s superb directing. The sexual anticipation in this unfulfilled love story makes it an erotic masterpiece. Oftentimes I was breathless, like a voyeur eavesdropping on the private moments of these lovers. I am breathless as I reminisce about it now.
Michele Voltaire Marcelin

in_the_mood_for_love1

In the Mood for Love – 97 minutes
Directed by Wong Kar-wai
Starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung
Soundtrack- Compositions on violin and orchestra by Umebayashi Shigeru and renditions by Nat King Cole
Cinematography- Chris Doyle and Art direction- William Chang

"Quizás, Quizás, Quizás" – written by Osvaldo Farrés, Cuba, 1947

Siempre que te pregunto
Que, cuándo, cómo y dónde
Tú siempre me respondes
Quizás, quizás, quizás

Y así pasan los días
Y yo, desesperando
Y tú, tú contestando
Quizás, quizás, quizás

Estás perdiendo el tiempo
Pensando, pensando
Por lo que más tú quieras
¿Hasta cuándo? ¿Hasta cuándo?

Y así pasan los días
Y yo, desesperando
Y tú, tú contestando
Quizás, quizás, quizás

Estás perdiendo el tiempo
Pensando, pensando
Por lo que más tú quieras
¿Hasta cuándo? ¿Hasta cuándo?

Y así pasan los días
Y yo, desesperando
Y tú, tú contestando
Quizás, quizás, quizás

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: