Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scattered Thoughts on WKW's In the Mood for Love

As opposed to showing a classic trailer for the movie, I decided to show this one scene, which was luckily on youtube. I think it says all any trailer needs to say about it's movie.

I wasn’t sure how I was gonna go about the posts this week, whether I was gonna spend the entire week focusing on WKW or if like last week, do a bit on the director here and there but fill it out with other things as well. I’m still not too sure, so I had to decide what film I would talk about. When you look at his body of work, certainly there are many similarities in themes and even style, but each film seems to carry it’s own voice. The obvious choice would be for me to state my thoughts on “Chungking Express,” which is my favorite movie of all time. Another flick we could look into would be “Happy Together,” a film filled with raw impact, and frustrated and angered me in the best ways possible… think Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours,” this also has the benefit of being on Netflix Instant so those of you interested can see it pretty much instantly. But the film that I seem to keep coming back to over and over again is “In the Mood for Love.”

Why is this? I really don’t know. I wrote that top essay about 5 hours ago, and have spent all my time so far trying to gather my thoughts on the film, but can’t seem to do so with much success. It’s a similar reaction to the first time I watched “Pulp Fiction” or “Mulholland Drive.” I was effected on a very basic level that was extremely difficult for me to explain, at least initially. Of course now, I recognize that I was drawn to the effortless and natural manner in which characters spoke to one another and fresh storytelling methods in “Pulp Fiction.” Even if I was too young to actively notice this. With that film I felt something so fantastical, and yet, real. With “Mulholland Drive,” it was having my mind truly stimulated for the first time. This is a different experience than say having a film with a big twist at the end, or something which had an interesting premise, like say “The Matrix.” This was allowing the director to truly take over and even if I didn’t know what was happening, I was experiencing something. We’ll spend more time on those films as well as their respective directors, at a later date.

With “In the Mood for Love,” once again I was struck on a very primal level. As far as I can figure it, it’s the emotional honesty and power of the situation presented. The film deals with the spouses of two people who are cheating on them with the other, and the spouses relationship that forms because of this. The film is not exploitive about this, it doesn’t illustrate what is a terrible situation as nothing more than a jumping off point to start another love story(unlike 99% of our modern day romantic comedies). Instead, we know and see only what they see. We’re figuring out their spouses are cheating on them as they do, and we see how this impacts them. In a vague sense, it’s almost like Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.” In that film, we never see the diamond heist, but we sure as hell see the effect it had on the characters. That’s what we have here.

I think another aspect which really impacts me, is the fact that this is a story of unrequited love. Sure, it’s not the freshest story type out there, but the way it’s presented, I don’t know, I haven’t quite pegged the film down yet, but it’s handled in a way that allows you to truly invest yourself into the characters and their lives, just as you’re invested in seeing your friends do well.

I guess what I’m really getting at with this film, as well as with the other two that I listed, is that we have to allow ourselves to experience movies. Pretentious and douchey as that sounds. We need to approach these films without all the baggage that being a film fan brings with it. Unfortunately, a lot of what’s released does not offer us that opportunity, instead they slap tired formulas and clich├ęs in our faces. I guess that’s what makes this film special to me. It allowed me to experience the film, no, it gave me the privilege to do so.

I’m sure as the film continues to stick with me, I’ll be able to better articulate my thoughts about it, so count on a return to the film in the near future

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