THE FREEZE FRAME CHALLENGE
Here’s your homework: Go home and watch In the Mood for Love with your remote within easy reach. At any given point, pause the film and take in the image as a still photograph. I promise you what you will find is that each frame of this film is so beautifully art directed and composed that the frames work just as successfully in motion as they do as still imagery. A large part of this might be contributed to the changing of cinematographers in the middle of shooting. Because Wong Kar-Wai favors a looser approach to filming, i.e. very little script, many re-takes, and improvisation with his actors, the shooting for Mood lasted 15 months, running way over schedule. The original cinematographer, Christopher Doyle, left the film and was replaced with Mark Lee Ping Bin. What could have resulted in a serious aesthetic shift ultimately became one of the film’s strengths, in my opinion, as Doyle’s more fluidly moving shots are tapered with Bin’s long, slow pan shots (or “visually placid” shots as is described in Criterion’s essay), resulting in a seamlessly unified, and visually luscious film. Thank you for indulging with me on In the Mood for Love this week. Have a great weekend!