Arguably Wong Kar-wai's plat du jour, In the Mood for Love is a luminous, reserved, slowly simmering romance. Set in a tenement house in Hong Kong during the 1960s Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung shimmer as Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan as neighbors who believe their respective spouses are having an affair.
A painful poetry and sad resignation haunt the pair of potential sweethearts, elegantly framed by superstar cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Wong's frequent collaborator. Numerous times the camera seems to pry, eavesdropping almost, on the star-crossed couple and their resisted romance.
The period details are perfect and never perfunctory—the cheong-san dresses adorned by Su Li-zhen are heart-stirring in detail and design—the color saturation and play of light is heavenly and mnemonic as is the use of music which conveys and captures an unfeigned nostalgia.