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Movie Review: In the Mood for Love

Story: I can't recall another film whose interior beauty was so moving and powerful. Usually a visually striking film relies on the natural vista's of Earth's landscape but other than a few exterior shots (usually seen through a heavy rain) the beauty of this experience takes place wholly indoors. I have often complained about feelings of claustrophobia in small films but I was not gasping for air at anytime in this daring unusual portrayal of a love story. Director and writer Wong Kar-Wai (Chungking Express), his long time editor William Chang and cinematographer Chris Doyle gave this Balcony Babe a great ride.

It is Hong Kong, 1962, when Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow rent small apartments (with their spouses) next door to one another. They eventually realize their spouses are having an affair. If this were an American film there would be lots of sex, panting, sweat, emotional upheavals and did I mention sex? Amazingly, Wong Kar-Wai depicts this mood piece without any of the above. Abstract thinking is a challenge. So is this film. What a treat!

Warning: This film is definitely not for everyone. If you like a lot of action, blood, explosions, sex and storyline - you will not be happy. However, if you want a very different cinematic experience-this is for you. Not very much happens - but, like life, very often nothing occurs yet it is still very interesting.

Acting: Tony Leung (Best Actor Cannes Festival) and Maggie Cheung were fabulous.

Critters: None

Food: Lots and lots of rice and something that looked like a steak and potatoes.

Visual Art: The apartments were too small and crowded.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Very interesting mix of eastern and western music. I was a bit perplexed about the use of Nat King Cole songs which were sung in Spanish.

Opening Titles: Red, white and fast.

Theater Audience: A fairly large crowd with almost no noticeable quirks. But then the previews began and the loon across the aisle from me started audibly cheering or booing the previews. OY! During the film he was singing along with the Nat King Cole tunes and slapping his hands on his thighs. But he looked harmless so I did not change my seat.

Quirky Meter: 5

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Nit Picking: Other than the weird Cole tunes I was one contented film goer.

Big Screen or Rental: Either. I can't think of any film like this for you to rent but I could suggest you look up the paintings of Vuillard, Bonnard or Degas to get a similar sense of color, mood and composition.

Length: 105 minutes