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Essential Event Info

  • Director Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong/France, 2000, USA release 2001.
  • In Cantonese and Shanghainese with English subtitles.
  • High-definition digital, Dolby Digital sound; TRT: 98 min.
  • Rated "PG"
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 91/94  
    Metacritic: 85   MRQE: 80/100
  • Block 2 Pictures (Hong Kong), Paradis-Orly Films (France); US Distribution: NBC-Universal.

  • W H E N
  • Saturday February 14
  • Optional Dinner & Cocktails, 6:00 pm
    Theatre opens for seating, 7:00 pm
    Film, 7:30 pm.

    W H E R E
  • The Carnegie,
    1028 Scott Bvd., Covington, 41011.
  • Easy Access, Free Parking:
  • Maps & Directions:
    Printable PDF parking map
    Interactive directional map
    Printable map and written directions
    Cincy-Covington Bridge & Street Grid
  • Will this be your first Carnegie visit?
        Learn more...

    D I N N E R   R E S E R V A T I O N S
    Enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner in the Carnegie Gallery along with priority seating for the film.
        Click here for details...
    Jeff Thomas Catering

    T I C K E T   I N F O R M A T I O N
  • Film Tickets are $10 in advance and $12* at the door.
  • Film Tickets for students and Enjoy the Arts members with valid ID are $10* available only at the door.
  • The Dinner & Film package is $50 and should be purchased by February 10, see menu details above.

  •  * NOTE: Any ticket physically sold by the CARNEGIE incurs a $1.00 facility charge IN ADDITION to the face value of the ticket -- this applies to tix purchased in advance by phone or in person, and tix at the door.

    H O W   T O   G E T   T I C K E T S
  • On-line: Click here for online tickets
    By phone:
  • CWC, 859-957-3456, Mon-Sat 9a-7p
  • Carnegie, 859-957-1940, Tue-Fri 12-5p

  • Film Tickets Only (no Dinner tix),
    available in-person at these area locations (click each for a map):
  • Sitwell's Coffee House,
    513 281 7487, Clifton-Ludlow Avenue
  • Lookout Joe Coffee Roasters,
    513 871 8626, Mt. Lookout Square
  • Coffee Emporium,
    513 651 5483, Downtown Cincinnati

  • In the Mood for Love

    "Breathtakingly Gorgeous" ~ The New York Times

    "Brilliant" ~ Roger Ebert         "Visually Ravishing" ~ The Los Angeles Times

    "One of the top 25 films of all time" ~ British Film Institute


      In The Mood For Love

    ABOUT THE FILM                        

    FOR ANYONE WHO HAS FALLEN IN LOVE with someone who was supposed to be just a friend ... anyone who has had to say goodbye to a person they care for deeply ... or anyone who has experienced the suffering and sacrifice that comes with the risk of loving, In the Mood for Love will have special meaning.

    FEW SUBJECTS HAVE DRIVEN the creation of great art as much as the concept of longing. Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, et.al., have expressed this emotion so well that their readers understand the pain that informed their art. In the Mood for Love is similar in this regard, as one of the things that makes this a great film is its understanding of the complexity of emotional longing.

    A COMMON ATTRIBUTE of fictional cinema is that it takes us out of the routine of our own lives by providing an escape from reality. Seldom do we see excellent films that encourage audiences to learn more about themselves. In the Mood for Love is such a film - a poetic and emotional love story that will quietly and softly touch your heart.

    IF YOU DO NOTHING MORE than watch the trailer and read these few words before coming to the theatre, you will find the film remarkable.   Knowing how and why it works so well will enhance your experience. Consider investing an additional five minutes here, Key Elements, as well as the historical background and production values discussed in Behind the Camera in the panel below.


    In his first film after the 1997 Hong Kong handover, accomplished and highly respected filmmaker Wong Kar-wai directs this moody period drama about unrequited love that, like his earlier work, swoons with romantic melancholy. Set in a Shanghaiese enclave in Hong Kong in 1962, the film centers on two young couples who rent adjacent rooms in a cramped and crowded tenement.

    Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) works as a secretary in an export company while her husband's job at a Japanese multinational keeps him away on extended business trips. Across the hall, Chow (Tony Leung) works as a newspaper editor and is married to a woman who is also frequently out of town. Neither respective spouse is ever shown in full, instead they are shot from the back or obscured by walls and furniture.

    Li-zhen and Chow soon strike up a cordial, if tentative, friendship. Chow begins to suspect that his wife's long absences are not entirely business related when he stops in unannounced at her office to discover that she is not there. Later, a colleague tells him that he saw his wife with another man. The icing on the cake comes when Chow notices that Li-zhen's handbag is identical to his wife's while Li-zhen discovers that Chow is wearing a tie that she gave her husband; it doesn't take long for them to realize that their spouses are sleeping together.

    Drawn together by shame and anger, Chow and Li-zhen reveal nothing of their discoveries to their partners. While working through their guilt by imagining how their adulterous spouses first hooked up and then rehearsing interrogations, the pair slowly fall in love in spite of their determination to uphold their end of their marital vows. In the Mood for Love, which was screened in competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival [and won three awards], barely made it to the fest's final slot; Wong Kar-Wai was reportedly tweaking scenes in Cambodia a week prior to the festival.
          ~ Jonathan Crow, AMG

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    Still Photos Costume Design BEHIND THE CAMERA
    TOPICS (click to pick, or scroll down):
    Setting & Background  |  About the Director  |  Key Elements  | 
    Cinematography  |  Awards & Nominations  | 

  • Setting & Historic Background
  • Hong Kong has been both a destination and a point of departure for the Chinese people throughout the 20th Century. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE is set in the Hong Kong of the early 1960s, where immigrants from China, in this case families from Shanghai, still retained their own customs and local identities -- dialects, food, popular music, and traditional operatic forms. Many believed Hong Kong to be a transient home away from China.

    Common to the immigrant experience in Asia, the U.S. and elsewhere, the film has the nostalgia and melancholy of uprooted people, as Wong Kar-Wai returns to the Shangainese enclave of his childhood where neighbors still knew and cared for each other but also were eager to gossip about everything.

    "I think it's because of my background," Mr. Wong said in an interview at the opening of IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE at the New York Film Festival. He was born in Shanghai in 1958 and moved with his parents to Hong Kong when he was 5, joining a wave of immigrants fleeing Communist China. "In 1997, just before Hong Kong's hand-over to China, we had to reregister our identity cards," he said. "And I realized that though I've been living in Hong Kong for more than 30 years, it still feels like a permanent vacation, a transition that lasts forever. It's weird and fun. We were always prepared, as kids, that we would move on, to somewhere else or back to Shanghai. There was no sense that you belonged to this place or city."

  • About the Director
  • There may be no more sensual director in the world today than Hong Kong's Wong Kar-Wai. His films "Chungking Express" (1994) "Ashes of Time"(1994), "In the Mood for Love" (2000), are rich in unconsummated affairs. The delicate shadow dances of would-be lovers and flirtatious courtships of couples that only fleetingly make contact are like a post-modern vision of a 1940s Hollywood film-noir now shot in splintered glimpses and burning color.

    In the past three decades, Mr. Wong has emerged as Hong Kong's – and Asia's leading auteur. His features, from "As Tears Go By" (1988) to "My Blueberry Nights" (2007) and "2046" blend sophisticated cinematography and editing, pop cultural references, urban anomie, and a surreal visual sense. Based on his own comments, "Days of Being Wild" (1990), "In the Mood for Love" (2000) and "2046" (2004) are considered to form a loose trilogy.

    In-depth discussion of Mr. Wong and his films fill entire websites and "In the Mood for Love" has garnered hundreds of reviews and analytical articles, and is also used as a teaching tool in film classes. Go here for a brief bio and filmography, plus links to interviews and articles.

  • Cinematography
  • This film is the sixth collaboration between director Wong Kar Wai and Australian-born cinematographer Christopher Doyle, and they have, as the N.Y. Times writes, "invented a much copied visual shorthand for romantic alienation, a mix of neon-smudged kinesis and slow-motion contemplation."

    Considered one of the best living cinematographers, Doyle has worked with directorial greats Gus Van Sant, James Ivory, Zhang Yuan, Philip Noyce, Zhang Yimou, Edward Yang, Barry Levinson, Clair Devers and Chen Kaige; on outstanding films such as "Rabbit-Proof Fence," "Infernal Affairs," "The Quiet Amerian," "Temptress Moon," "Noir et Blanc," "Days of Being Wild," "Chungking Express" and "Happy Together."

    Born in Taiwan, the award-winning cinematographer Pin Bing Li stepped in to complete the final scenes of IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, when the film ran into a second year of shooting and Chris Doyle had to honor other commitments. Together, Doyle and Pin won the Technical Grand Prize at Cannes for their cinematography for IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.

    Sometimes working under the name Mark Li Ping-Bing, he has shot over 40 films in Taiwan and Hong Kong, including Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "Dust in the Wind," "The Puppetmaster;" An Hui's "Summer Snow;" and Tran Anh Hung's "The Vertical Ray of the Sun."

    Wong's subtlety and Doyle's camera skill are evident throughout the film; here are just three examples:

    In one scene, Chow and Li-zhen sit in a cafe, discussing their respective spouses' indiscretion even as the bond between them has already shown itself to be filament fine and strong. The lovers are shown to us mostly in profile, which means each actor has only half the usual available resources to work with: one eye and half a smile apiece. But they telegraph their desire beautifully and perfectly, and the fact that their faces are partially hidden from us enhances the sense of intimacy between them. They're two halves of one exceptional whole, prevented by circumstance from ever coming into the open.

    In another scene, in a mirror we glimpse Li-zhen as she smiles at an unobservant Chow. The camera then pans to Chow, who sneaks an unnoticed peek at Li-zhen. The film's speed is slowed to guarantee nothing is missed.

    In one astonishingly subtle sequence Chow descends some the stairs to the strains of Michael Galasso's intoxicating score and exits screen left. Several seconds pass as the camera lingers on the empty staircase, until Li-zhen suddenly appears from the same direction and we are left to wonder whether they spoke or touched when they passed one another off-screen.

  • Key Elements
  • The film has a strong "noir" feel, thanks to elegant use of directional lighting, shadows and densely packed city scenes, and the subject is the same - love and betrayal. But instead of the sense of doom or impending violence that so frequently comes from noir films, here it is the nostalgia of missed chances, as a title card in the film says, "like looking through a dusty window pane."

    You should know up front that Wong Kar Wai does not walk the expected path -- there is no precise linear direction and the film does not progress along a tight (and obvious) plot line, but instead spirals lazily around the characters like the smoke wafting upward from Chow's ever-present cigarette.

    This may initially frustrate or confuse viewers expecting a strong "Hollywood" story and a clean narrative line, but will exhilarate those open to Wong's cinematic textures of visuals and sounds. Wong is famous for starting shooting without a finished script. Instead, the characters, dialogue and story evolve in response to actors and locations. As a result, the film is sketched almost entirely in suggestion, letting the viewer reply upon cinematic nuance to appreciate the story.

    One of the things that makes IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE a great film is its understanding and portrayal of the complexity of emotional longing -- there are few yearnings more pronounced than that of knowing that there is someone who is right for you, who makes you feel complete, coupled with the knowledge that you can never have them, perhaps never even see them again.

    Love, betrayal, longing and loneliness is not conveyed in a simple linear fashion. Rather, we watch breathlessly and join Chow and Li-zhen as they proceed on an emotional roller coaster. As the two characters grow closer and closer, the film explores countless aspects of their relationship. Their feelings of simultaneous betrayal, love, lust, and morality, intertwine and dance around each other.

    On screen, one of the first things you will notice is the intentional absence of Li-zhen's (Maggie Cheung) and Chow's (Tony Leung) spouses. What few glimpses you get are from behind, from the side, through doorways, etc. This ties with the story construct that has them traveling extensively and tending to their own love affairs with each other.

    Throughout the film, the framing, use of space and use of motion have a huge effect on the emotional impact, and understanding, of the story. During the first half of the film, for example, Wong emphasizes the couple's emotional distance by refusing to frame them in the same shot during conversations.

    With fluid, slow camera movements and shots on stairways, through windows and doorways, the cinematography and pacing are mesmerizing, offering the lingering gaze of the camera on a half-obscured shoulder, cigarette smoke spiraling in the air, streetlights through the rain, reflections from a wet street or puddle. Wong shoots the film from around corners, under tables, through doorways and windows, eavesdropping on a life.

    "There's no direct contact with the characters. We're looking at things from afar," says Wong. "It gives you space to think and feel rather than just identifying with the actors." It also lends the whole film an aura of recollection as slivers of scenes dissolve into one another as time is lost to mood and emotion.

    Slow motion is used to accentuate the sensuality and emotional depth of selected scenes and dialogue is often replaced by long and dazzling shots accompanied by lovely music -- making it exceptionally clear that you are not watching a formulaic Hollywood film. But this is what makes the film particularly beautiful.

    As the story develops, we are shown only the two key characters in close up so that we absorb the essence of their relationship. In other shots, the contrasting use of space brings us the sights and sounds of high-density Hong Kong - narrow stairways, alleys and streets, crowded apartments and restaurants, etc.

    All said, this film is as close to flawless as you are likely to find.


    Best Actor, Cannes Film Festival
    Grand Prize, Cinematography, Cannes Film Festival
    Grand Prize, Production Design, Cannes Film Festival
    Grand Prize, Lighting & Sound, Cannes Film Festival
    Best Foreign Film, (CESAR), French Academy of Cinema
    Best Foreign Film, German Film Awards
    Best Foreign Film, British Independent Film Awards
    Intl Screen Award, European Academy of Film Awards
    Best Actress, Golden Horse Film Awards
    Best Cinematography, Golden Horse Film Awards
    Best Foreign Film, National Society of Film Critics
    Best Cinematography, National Society of Film Critics
    Best Foreign Film, New York Film Critics Circle
    Best Cinematography, New York Film Critics Circle
    Best Foreign Film, Cinema Writers Circle Film Awards
    Best Foreign Film, Los Angeles Film Critics Assoc
    Best Cinematography, Los Angeles Film Critics Assoc
    Best Feature Film, Montreal Festival of New Cinema
    Best Cinematography, Asia-Pacific Film Festival
    Best Editing, Asia-Pacific Film Festival
    Best Director, Hong Kong Film Critics Association
    Best Actor, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Actress, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Art Direction, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Costume & Make Up, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Film Editing, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Film of Merit, Hong Kong Film Critics Association
    Best Film, Chlotrudis Film Awards
    Best Cinematography, Chlotrudis Film Awards
    Best Foreign Film, Argentinean Film Critics Assoc
    Best Cinematography, Golden Bauhinia Film Awards
    Best Foreign Film, Fotogramas de Platas Film Awards
    Best Film, Uruguayan Film Critics Association
    Best Film, Valdivia International Film Festival


    Palm D'Or (Best Film), Cannes Film Festival
    Best Foreign Film, British Academy of Film (BAFTA)
    Best Foreign Film, Independent Spirit Awards
    Best Picture, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Director, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Cinematography, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best New Performer, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Original Film Score, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Screenplay, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Supporting Actress, Hong Kong Film Awards
    Best Foreign Film, London Film Critics Circle
    Best Foreign Film, Australian Film Institute
    Grand Prix, Flanders International Film Festival
    Best Foreign Film, Broadcast Film Critics Association
    Best Actor, Chlotrudis Film Awards
    Best Actress, Chlotrudis Film Awards
    Best Director, Chlotrudis Film Awards
    Best Screenplay, Chlotrudis Film Awards
    Best Foreign Film, Donatello Awards
    Best Foreign Film, Chicago Film Critics Association
    Best Cinematography, Chicago Film Critics Association
    Best Original Score, Chicago Film Critics Association
    Best Foreign Film, Online Film Critics Society
    Best Film, Bodil Awards

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