In the Mood For Love

Brief commentary on the famous Corridor Glance scene

Music decorates the triviality of life with mystery, beauty and eroticism or, to be more precise, it reminds us that qualities like the above already exist inside a seemingly indifferent reality that tries to trick you into believing they don’t.

But it’s up to you to recognise the value of the mundane and appreciate it. Only then that you will be granted the opportunity not just to observe the surrounding beauty but to discover it anew each time.

There is no need for grand gestures, no need for public love confessions, no need for sunsets and balloon rides and huge diamond rings.

One simple and random encounter with the person you are secretly in love with at the farm’s market, no matter how plain or unromantic it may seem, it’s equally important for the person who loves.

That is what Kar-Wai Wong tries to convey here. He doesn’t want his heroes to turn into a caricature of themselves like in some over the top Hollywood film; he doesn’t want love depicted like one of those satirical portraits with exaggerated features. Instead, it is simple, discreet, significant.

That is one of the reasons he chooses to dress this scene of everyday life with this piece of music. It’s a hint for the surrounding unexpected beauty, the anticipation for a delightful surprise; in this case, the brief encounter with the person we hoped we would see by chance.

Adding to this, the effect of slow motion and the camera’s movement to the fluid and erotic rhythm of Shigeru Umebayashi’s waltz amplifies our impatience for the destined encounter.

It keeps us on our toes for the moment their glance will meet and their shoulders will inevitably touch in this narrow space and the shy and subtle smile will try to hide a galloping heartbeat.

And then the camera abruptly stops to a bare wall, we are denied the chance of witnessing this moment.

Conventions are overturned, as in love.

What happens next is only implied or imagined, as in love.

Our expectations don’t meet reality, as in love.