Wong Kar Wai’s swoon-inducing instant classic made Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung the star-crossed dream team of the early 2000s art house. They play next-door neighbors driven by loneliness into a platonic romance amid the alleyways and noodle shops of 1960s Hong Kong, only to discover that their own spouses are carrying on an affair. The breathless, will-they-won’t-they tension is pushed to intoxicating heights by the luscious mise-en-scène: Christopher Doyle’s caressing cinematography; the sensuous use of slo-mo; the red- and green-saturated, patterned print-galore period art direction (that wallpaper!); and the haunting, endlessly repeating strains of Nat King Cole. “Quizás, quizás, quizás…”
In Love for the Mood
Ming Wong, Singapore, 2009, 5m
A Caucasian actress (Kluane Saunders) replaces Cheung and Leung and attempts to deliver her lines in Cantonese by repeating after Wong’s offscreen voice.