In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong film directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. The film premiered on 20 May 2000, at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or.
Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are polite and formal—until a discovery about their respective spouses sparks an intimate bond. At once delicately mannered and visually stunning, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments in time.
The film took 15 months to shoot. The cinematographer Christopher Doyle, for whom the film was the sixth collaboration with Wong Kar-wai, had to leave the film when production went over schedule and was replaced by Mark Lee Ping Bin, renowned for his work with Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien. Both DPs are credited equally for the final film, and some scenes in the final cut are thought to have been shot by each, with some critics noting differences between Doyle’s more kinetic style as seen in earlier Wong movies, and the more subtle long shots of Lee framing key parts of In the Mood for Love. The critic Tony Rayns, on the other hand, noted in a commentary on another Wong film that the differing styles of the two cinematographers were blended seamlessly by Wong’s own fluid aesthetic. Like all of Wong’s previous work, this one was shot on film, not digitally.
The film’s original Chinese title, meaning ‘the age of blossoms’ or ‘the flowery years’ – Chinese metaphor for the fleeting time of youth, beauty and love – derives from a song of the same name by Zhou Xuan from a 1946 film. The English title derives from a Bryan Ferry song, “I’m in the Mood for Love.” Wong had planned to name the film Secrets, until listening to the song late in post-production.