Derik Badman's Journal

2020-03-10 06:58

I had never seen Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love so we watched it last night. The colors in it are brilliant, bright, lots of nice contrast, variations and repetitions. The composition of the shots was also really interesting everything seemed closed in: lots of flat surfaces, walls and doors and dividers went full image vertically dividing up the space, shutting in the characters. Even the exterior scenes mostly feel really shut in, filmed close to walls with only the occasional look down the street, mostly empty. Lots of beautiful fabrics patterns on dresses too especially what the lead woman wears. But the longer the story went on the less clear it became? The more drawn out it felt. The whole thing had a pretty fragmented structure not a lot of clear demarcations of time passing until late at the movie when there is suddenly a lot of intertitles about location and time. It's about two couples who move in next to each other on the same day and really it's about the one husband and the other wife, how they find out that their partners are having an affair. Interestingly, we are never shown the faces of the other partners. We see them very rarely, from behind, occasionally hear their voices low, kind of distant. They both sound like that, which is effective to tie them together and make them seem not present. The elliptical nature of the storytelling makes it seem missing at times, like I don't know it's ever resolved what happens to the other husband and the other wife. They go on a trip. They kind of seem to never come back. It's not clear. Do the couples get divorced? It's hard to say. The ending also had a number of scenes that are not totally clear, sometimes, maybe out of order. The man moves to Singapore for a job to get away from everything, seemingly without his wife. In one scene he's searching around his new room and yelling at the landlord or super about someone being in his room and taking something, and he finds a cigarette with pink lipstick in the ashtray. In a subsequent scene we see the woman in the room calling him, hanging up, and smoking a cigarette. She's wearing lipstick, but we see no indication they actually meet. I'm not totally sure what to make of that. Some of it seems almost dreamlike or imagined or like fantasy made up memory. And the last scene in the movie the guy is in Cambodia for some reason at some old ruins, and it's not clear what that has to do with anything. Why did they bother to go to that whole other location to shoot this one scene.

In some sense the two couples are doubled. The two wives wear similar dresses, at one point we know they have the same purse. The two husbands are always in suits. Since we never see the faces of two of them it increases the sense of doubling. Then in various scenes the two leads play act their partners, imagining how they met, who made the first move, imagining how the wife will confront her husband and have him admit the affair. In a sense, maybe the partners just disappear from the movie because they are doubles, they have been subsumed by the leads' growing closeness and desire, almost repeating what came before.

The news is all about the new coronavirus lately. I'm not sure how much to actually be worried about. I'm not worried about myself, since I'm not in one of the more vulnerable categories, but I'm worried about my parents and friends and just other people, even just all the various ways society could get disrupted. If people start staying home more, what happens to the restaurants and movie theaters and all the people who work there. What about all the people who don't get sick time, who can't afford not to work? I'm lucky; I work from home. I can stay away from most people, most of the time. I can be a worrier, but it's often more the worry of imminent events (like, the closer I get to travelling the more I am anxious about it).

It was in the high sixties yesterday, our warm winter continues, so I took a walk after I stopped working. The park near my house was nice and quiet, a few people with their dogs, and little else, but as I was coming out to the exit, I saw the red tail hawk fly from one tree to the other. I stood watching, blocking the setting sun with my hand, and he took off again and circled around above me, lower than usually. When he wasn't right in the line of the sun I could see his wings and tail feathers all spread out.