Introduced by Ian Haydn Smith
Wong Kar-Wai’s meditation on the way layers of separation create a mood for love in the close confines of 1960s Hong Kong derives an erotic atmosphere from the restrictions on romance. Two characters, married to other people who they discover are having an affair, actually avoid initiating their own affair in spite of mutual attraction. The closely tailored, formal clothes worn by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai seem to express this intense but controlled love by concealing any glimpses of flesh while clinging to their bodies. Muted colours begin to blossom with unfulfilled promises, but ever-present possibilities.
Hong Kong 2000. Dir. Wong Kar-Wai. With Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu. Costumes William Chang.
Ian Haydn Smith is a film journalist, critic, writer. He is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4, and contributes to numerous publications, including Time Out, Vertigo, Kamera and Scope.