Blu-ray Review: Breathtaking New Restored Transfer For Gorgeous ‘In the Mood For Love’

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CHICAGO – Wong Kar-Wai’s “In the Mood For Love” is one of the most beautiful movies ever made, a mesmerizing blend of Wong’s gift with storytelling, perfect performances from its captivating leads, a gorgeous score from Michael Galasso, and Christopher Doyle & Mark Li Ping-Bin’s cinematography, which should have won every award imaginable. This timeless tale of unrequited love in 1962 Hong Kong resonated strongly with me when I saw it over a decade ago but it’s an even better movie than I remembered. It’s simply perfect and Criterion’s breathtaking HD transfer does it all the justice it deserves. Blu-ray rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

A man and woman eat alone in Hong Kong. Their spouses travel a lot and so these neighbors — Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) — start to watch their lives intersect. Many filmmakers have commented on how often people are alone even in such close proximity to one another in crowded cities but Wong has more lyrical intentions. Chow and Su learn that their spouse’s lives have already intersected and so they draw closer. But friendships between men and women in 1962 Hong Kong is not allowed. And so their loneliness continues.

To call “In the Mood For Love” beautiful doesn’t capture it enough. There are some films that are so striking that their power can’t be captured in words. They defy language. “In the Mood For Love” is one of the most gorgeous films ever made from Wong’s framing with his mega-talented cinematographers to the lavish art direction & costume design. I think every filmmaker should watch “In the Mood For Love” multiple times to see the devotion to craft here. And they should do so on the Criterion Blu-ray.

As with most things Criterion, this is more than just an import of an already-released film on Blu-ray. They’ve remastered the film as supervised by Mark Lee Ping-in and it’s no understatement to say it’s one of the best-looking movies in the Criterion Blu-ray catalog, which is truly saying something. A wide variety of special features enhances the package even further. This won’t get the attention of new-to-Criterion releases this season like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Heaven’s Gate,” but it may just be my favorite.

In the Mood For Love was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on October 2, 2012
In the Mood For Love was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on October 2, 2012
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Criterion Collection

Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are polite and formal - until a discovery about their respective spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood For Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. With its aching musical soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.

StarClick here to buy “In the Mood For Love”

Special Features:
o In the Mood For Love - Director Wong Kar-wai’s Documentary On The Making Of The Film
o Deleted Scenes With Commentary By Wong
o Hua Yang De Nian Hua - Short Film By Wong
o Archival Interview With Wong and a Cinema Lesson Given By The Director At The 2001 Cannes Film Festival
o Toronto International Film Festival Press Conference from 2000, With Stars Maggie Cheung Man-yuk and Tony Leung Chiu-wai Trailers and TV Spots
o Booklet Featuring An Essay By Film Critic Steve Erickson and the Liu Yi-chang Story That Provided Thematic Inspiration For The Film

“In the Mood For Love” stars Maggie Cheung Man-yuk and Tony Leung Chiu-wai. It was written and directed by Wong Kar-wai. It was released on Criterion Blu-ray and re-released on Criterion DVD on October 2, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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