Tuesday, May 12, 2020

In The Mood For Love

(Christopher Doyle, cinematographer)

Perhaps I'll write pithy observations of a different film every night, until this lenient but unyielding terror passes. Many consider this film a masterpiece. For its lyrical moments and the tense romantic waltz portrayed poetically, I agree. It is hypnotic and beautifully filmed. That the two protagonists successfully resist their justified love is both counter-intuitively pleasurable and uncommonly troubling. Each time I see it I expect a different outcome. I wish for the different outcome with them, but also like them, can not have it. I can desire their desires. It is Lost in Translation for adults. 

No, that is not fair. I like that film, also. It tells a similar story and has some light-hearted moments, some laughs. That is all I meant. I take offense to its relenting of seriousness. In the Mood for Love is pensive, trifling, terse. The music, editing, and cinematography move together to form an indivisible whole. The slow motion montages could have been shot by Saul Leiter; the sounds of the desperate sobs of tender affection; hands being held in darkness; the lights of Hong Kong passing through the taxi; the taxi passing through the night. What a thing are the images of love - tragic in eventualities, graceless in the falling and failings.

I should watch Lost in Translation tomorrow night. I should re-watch every film I remember liking from memory alone. There could not be that many, perhaps one hundred, or maybe two. I could do it in less than a year. Imagine how profound and admired I would become after such monastic dedication. To lazily and passively ingest images and narrative and song, my eyes as fat and satisfied as that of a sultan's. I could become cosmopolitan and erudite and charming. What if I were to start all over. To re-invent the memories of my lived life. To promise to never be the first to fall asleep again.