****/**** Image A+ Sound A Extras A
starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Maggie Cheung Man-yuk
written and directed by Wong Kar-wai
by Walter Chaw The middle film in a loose trilogy by Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar-wai (the others are Days of Being Wild and 2046), In the Mood for Love is a love-drunk ode to the confusion, the intoxication, the magic, and the tragedy of being in love. It speaks in terms proximate and eternal, presenting lovers cast in various roles across years and alien geographies, placing some objects in the position of totem and memento and others in historical dustbins to be abandoned, forgotten. It links the act of watching a film to the act of seduction (Days of Being Wild might be even better at this), and there's a strong sense in In the Mood for Love that Wong is playing the artifactor of both sign and signifier: He's doing the T.S. Eliot two-step of authoring Prufrock while simultaneously providing the distance to criticize it.