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For those who haven't had the chance to see the film yet I will give you a brief

summary of
what the film is about. In the Mood for Love is a film set in Hong Kong during the 1960s. Its
the story of two married couples who rent rooms in the homes of two older couples living in
adjacent apartments. They move in on the exact same day and this is when the two main characters
are introduced. The husband of one couple, Mr. Chow, and the wife of the other, Mrs. Chan, are the
main focus of the film. As the film progresses, they gradually discover that their spouses are
cheating on them, with each other. The film then focuses on how these two victims come together to
deal with the emotional pain of infidelity.
There are so many filmic elements I wish I could have covered in this film, but I dont have the
time to touch up upon all of them so here is what Im going to focus upon essentially, the framing in
the cinematography, the use of repetition and looking at when to cut for emotion. So firstly, when I
was deconstructing the filmic techniques employed in the text, elements in the cinematography
became more apparent to me, I noticed within the first three minutes of the film that every shot had
been essentially a frame within a frame. Here is some examples of what I mean {CHANGE
SLIDE} As you can see almost every shot in the film that features our two protagonists are not only
confined within the frame of the lens, but in smaller rectangles and squares that are made up from
the urban environment. Generally these shots can be seen to both give a dimension to the characters
lives and emulate a sense of claustrophobia as these characters are given limited visible movement
within the frame.{CHANGE SLIDE} Another way in how framing progresses the film, correlates
briefly with context of the films setting in 1960s Hong Kong. The lead characters feel this constant
threat of gossip or surveillance from their landlords, neighbours and the community. Promoting
the feeling that these characters are somewhat stuck within these frames either between walls,
between neighbours, between social norms or between their spouses love affair with each other. The
composition of framing with objects in the foreground splitting us from the protagonist forces us as
voyeurs into these characters lives, enhancing the idea that the characters are feeling as they are
being watched from afar and constantly monitored by their peers. Regardless of the voyeuristic
element that some films uses a telephoto lens for, much of the film was shot on a normal Zeiss lens
as it seeks to avoid noticeable perspective distortions (Bordwell and Thompson 169), giving the
audience the feeling of being there with the protagonists, but due to the obstruction in the
foreground, just out of reach with their lives. {Change Slide} This idea of the frame within a frame
is so common throughout the film, that one of the first scenes where this isn't prevalent is almost
only 10 minutes into the film, when neither of the protagonists are visible in the frame. Reinstating
my point in the films utilisation of frames as it is emotionally indicative of how the characters feel

within their environment towards the other members of their community. {CHANGE SLIDE}
Something you may have noticed is the repetition of locations and shots throughout the film. In The
Mood For Love only has a handful of locations it uses throughout the entirety of the film, primarily
for the purpose of exploring emotion and progressing the reoccurring theme of nostalgia which is
heavily prevalent in the film. On top of the locations being revisited in general, these areas are
generally reintroduced using the same angle they had originally been shot in the first time M.Chow
and Mrs.Chan arrive there. Here are some examples to name a few {CHANGE SLIDE} The shots
that take place in the Market where M.Chow and Mrs.Chan get their noodles from is a flagrant
example of repetition that permeates the film. The repetition that is used in this scene in particular is
a prime example of how both the shots and location are used almost exclusively as a foundation to
emphasise their growing connection to each other over time. Minor tangent, an effect that is
implemented in this scene is the use of a digitalised slow motion.{SHOW CLIP AT 13:30-15:10)
This, whilst providing an ethereal and hyper dramatic view of our protagonists as they miss each
other the first time in the marketplace, conveys that a rapport is established, whether theyve
realised it or not. This visual motif assists in identifying the affinities these two characters share
regardless that they had not properly known each other in great detail. However, the second time
they meet on the stairs in the exact same scenario they smile to each other on the stairs, essentially
implementing the basis that they are getting much closer with each passing encounter. {CHANGE
SLIDE}
Back to the repetition of scenes, that I had mentioned previously, the revisiting of scenes is
prevalent in many other situations in which the two meet throughout the film. The diner scene
adheres to this as their first time they enter together they come to the sudden realisation that their
partners are cheating on them, whilst some spanish song is playing in the background. In the
repeated scene, they advance their relationship as they simulate a dinner they would've had with
their spouses, again playing the same spanish song and utilising many of the same shots. Whilst
later in the taxi together this element comes into practice again, M.Chow tries to reach for
Mrs.Chans hand where in this instance she pulls away. Yet, when revisited later in the film where
M.Chow confesses his love for her in the taxi, she is the one to grab his hand and hold onto it. The
importance of these emotive scenes being repeated can be expressed as either a regression of the
characters to find meaning to a situation that has none or a progression to better find themselves.
{CHANGE SLIDE}

Onto my next deconstruction of the film, if we observe the film In The Mood For Love through its
stylistic editing form, we can discover even more meaning in which Wong Kar Wai attempted to
explore emotion. Bordwell and Thompson (2013, p.226) state The filmmaker can adjust the
lengths of any shot in relation to the shots around it. That choice taps into the rhythmic potential of
editing. Other film techniques, notably the soundtrack, contribute to the overall rhythm of the film
as youd expect. But the patterning of shot lengths contributes considerably to what we intuitively
recognise as the films rhythm. Bordwell and Thompsons explanation of the rhythmic editing
process is an explicit factor in the film In the Mood for Love as the emotions that the characters feel
are represented not through the dialogue of the film, but rather the length of the cut. While at its
core, this film primarily uses continuity editing during dialogue scenes to show shots and reverse
shots with its dialogue to show events chronological unfolding before the audience, its the pacing of
this rhythmic editing that shines bright in the melodramatic film that is In the Mood for Love.
{CHANGE SLIDE} Films such as this one with minimal dialogue, instinctually base the editing
off the emotion that is created in the actors eyes rather than what is said in the dialogue, which in
my opinion conveys more information about how a character feels. The films editing style above
anything else is essentially emotions take time to comprehend, which is why we gain a greater
connection to characters as we have the time to read their emotions before and after they speak. In
this brief scene Ill show you now we have the time to feel how Mrs.Chan is feeling when she is
talking to M.Chows wife, read the emotion that is portrayed through her eyes before and after the
door is closed on her {Show example at 21:00}. Throughout the film this style of editing is
implemented in scenes of strong emotion primarily as long continuous shots due to the fact it gives
us more time to analyse the feelings and expressions of the character. Henceforth, the duration
before a cut is made is a highly effective tool in the film that conveys emotion properly as we are
given the time to have it feel believable. {CHANGE SLIDE}
Looking at the film stylistically from its themes to its cinematography, it is evident that the film
shares many reoccurring motifs with the noir film genre, such as other Wong Kar Wai films like
Chungking Express. With such identifiable noir-esque filmic elements like its sprawling and
claustrophobic urban jungle setting, its noir iconography of drawn out phones ringing and smoking
cigarettes, to its low key lighting in the alley scene where they are surrounded by street lamps that
function as ubiquitous markers of loneliness. It can be assumed these stylistic choices by Wong Kar
Wai were implemented to enforce the feelings of betrayal and loneliness that the protagonists are
feeling, whilst they trudge through melancholic dark and rainy alleyways.{CHANGE SLIDE}
Concurrently, the film In The Mood for Love can be observed as a mood piece of a bittersweet tale

of unrequited love(Jollyrogersskullsandbones, 2013) for the audiences to ultimately identity with,


whether it was from such filmic techniques as its framing, the process of repetition or its selective
choices in cuts to convey emotion. {LAST SLIDE}

Reference List
Bordwell, D., & Thompson, K. (2013). Film Art: An Introduction (10th Edition). New York, NY:
McGraw-Hill
Jollyrogersskullsandbones. (2013, May 6) An Analysis on Screen Aesthetics: In the Mood for Love
[Web log post]. Retrieved from https://jollyrogerskullsandbones.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/ananalysis-on-screen-aesthetics-in-the-mood-for-love/

Kinoreal. (2010, September 28) Movies, Life and Philosophy: In The Mood for Love (Wong KarWai, 2000) [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.kino-real.com/2010/09/wong-kar-wai-ispresently-considered-as.html

Saagar. (2014, February 14). In The Mood for Love by Wong Kar Wai with English Subtitle [Video
file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0Q1bHqQT0E