Monday, August 24, 2009

Quizas Quizas Quizas

I wanted to write something on the films for some times. I am downloading and watching films left-right-and-center, taking full advantage of a real broadband connection. But the eternal question looms, write on what and what to write...

And then I came across Baradwaj Rangan's latest in-between-review piece. I just saw the accompanying picture and the name of the director given at the end, I knew I had to see this. Afraid it might spoil the fun, i skipped the article altogether (which is BTW, great as always, I read it later). One necessary announcement here: Baradwaj Rangan is the bestest film-critic in our country right now. Period.

Now, where was I... Yes, the film. It is "In the Mood for Love" by Wong Kar Wai. I have heard a lot about Wong Kar Wai and saw his very famous "Chungking Express" a month before. Misfit, quirky characters, old music, love and loneliness and of course Wai's signature frames with stylistic light and color. Me likes. One look at the scene and you know it has to be Wai. You'll know what I mean when you see his films.

Music plays a very significant part in Wai's films. I can not imagine Chungking Express without "California Dreamin" playing in loud volume in the background and whenever I hear the song I can see Faye playing with aeroplane inside the aquarium.

Anyway, I was going in a tangent about something else, whereas I wanted to talk about "In the Mood for Love". Now what to say about that? Will it suffice to say that this is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen?

Frankly speaking it is very difficult to describe this film. It is a story set in sixties Hong Kong, where Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow, along with their respective spouses, rent rooms in opposite flats (Wai likes tiny apartments and narrow staircases... maybe in confined spaces, we feel closer to his characters). Their paths cross time and again as they deal with their lonely lives, suspicious of their partner's infidelity. But they can't fall in love with each other. As Chow tells, "We are not like them", and in short that's what the film is. Of not falling in love. Or is it the opposite...

What makes more difficult to describe this film, is its beauty... almost like poetry on camera, which is, as the cliche goes 'seen to be believed'. How can a simple walk down the steps can become magical with use of slow motion and music? How do you describe the sadness captured in the slow patterns of white cigarette smoke? How on earth background score can elevate a simple sequence into masterpiece?

"In the Mood for Love" is nothing if you remove the music. Be it the melancholic theme music (youtube link) or earnest but sad Quizas Quizas Quizas (which means "Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps"), it seems the script is written for the music, not the other way around.

The film never hurries around. Small small incidents, snippets of conversation and the languid pace. As if the time is stopped and the viewer is not much aware of the real time line, unless we are shown explicitly like "Hong Kong 1963". It's a film which never rushes even in its 90 min of length. It takes it time, makes you feel what they are feeling, the desperation, the sadness, the loneliness. It reminded me of Murakami's novels, the feeling of longing and slowing down the flow of time (although Murakami is totally surreal, almost in a parallel universe).

"In the Mood for Love" leaves you sad and silent for a long time after it ends, with the songs remaining inside your head. And believe me, it will go on for a long time.

A small film, with a small story, perfect for keeping inside your heart, maybe to revisit some time later.

Quizas quizas quizas...

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