In the Mood for Love

This post has been sitting in my “Drafts” folder for a very long time. Today seems like a good day to dust it off and finish it, since I want to post something but lack the mental energy to actually write anything new. More tomorrow. . . .

I was talking to a friend recently a while back about “In the Mood for Love,” my favorite film. Set in Hong Kong in the 60s, it’s the story of two neighbors—played by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung—whose lives intersect in complicated ways. While there’s not a lot of dialogue or plot, the film unfolds slowly and beautifully. By the end of the film, you feel as though you fully understand what the characters are thinking and feeling and the kind of choices that they will or won’t make. Perhaps it’s most accurate to say it’s part of a lifetime of artistic work by Wong Kar-Wai on the theme of memory and choices.

There’s an important scene in the film about secrets where one of the lead characters whispers a secret into the knot of a tree and then covers it over with mud. We’re left to wonder what the secret was (in the film it could be one of a couple choices based on your outlook on life and hopes for the characters) and whether telling it (but to no one in particular) actually frees the character from the burden.

As a man with few secrets, it’s an intriguing question: Is it really possible to unburden yourself by telling a secret into a black hole? (BTW, when I saw Kerri’s post about a diabetes version of PostSecret, I immediately thought of this scene from the film.)

Supposing that you liked that, but still aren’t sure whether you want to sit through two-plus hours of some of the most beautiful filmmaking ever, here are a pair of compilations of scenes from the film—a sort of art-house musical montage/homage, if you will.

Have any of you, my dear readers, seen this film? Any Wong Kar-Wai fans out there? Let me know what you think. And what are your thoughts about secrets. If a secret is something you tell another person, is it as liberating if you anonymously tell the universe or no one in particular?

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