In the Mood for Love (Fa yeung nin wa) (2000)

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Released 14-Feb-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Deleted Scenes-4, 2 +/- audio commentary
Featurette-Hong Kong Gala Premiere
Music Video
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 93:56 (Case: 98)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:49) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kar-Wai Wong

Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Tony Leung
Maggie Cheung
Ping Lam Siu
Rebecca Pan
Lai Chen
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Michael Galasso

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    In The Mood For Love is a film about a relationship that forms between two individuals living in Hong Kong during the early 1960s.

    Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) moves into an apartment building in Hong Kong at the same time as Li-zhen Chan (Maggie Cheung). Chow is the editor of a local newspaper and his wife is a travel agent who works long hours and is away from home for long periods throughout the year. Li-zhen works as a secretary for a local firm and her husband is also away for long periods of time due to his work commitments. As time progresses Chow and Li-zhen spend more time together and become close friends. When they both become aware that their partners are having affairs they take comfort in each other's company.

    This is a simple story about relationships that is beautifully told by writer/director Wong Kar-wai (Chungking Express, Happy Together). The film features excellent performances by both the lead actors as well as the secondary cast members. The film received awards for both Best Actor and Best Cinematography and Editing at the 2000 Cannes film festival as well as wide critical acclaim. The film displays an interesting shot composition by cinematographers Christopher Doyle and Mark Li Ping-bing with most scenes having a number of different levels with characters often behind objects located in the foreground. Maggie Cheung's character has a massive number of costume changes, highlighting the fashions in Hong Kong during the early 1960s.

    This is a beautifully crafted love story and one that should not be missed.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.62:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is quite sharp throughout, but numerous scenes have portions of the image intentionally soft and out of focus, due to the different depths of field displayed. No low-level noise was detected at any time. During the numerous dark portions of the transfer excellent levels of shadow detail may be seen.

    The colour palette displays a wide range of colours and is always vibrant. In the main, the palette is very natural, but during some scenes a yellow lighting technique is used and this results in the image taking on a distinctly yellow tone.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected at any time during the transfer.

    A number of aliasing artefacts were noticed. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 0:52, 10:51, 11:28, 13:38 and 14:28. These artefacts were all relatively minor but they were slightly disruptive.

    A small number of minor film artefacts were detected during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 4:03, 5:57, 9:45, 11:37 and 12:47 but these are never disturbing. Some obvious film grain may be seen, but this is not distracting.

    Some small analogue tape errors may be seen in a section of historical footage at 85:10, but these are not a fault of the transfer and are not irritating.

    A single set of white English subtitles is included on this disc, and they were always clear and easy to understand. A time code appears included for a single line at 9:56 but this is only very minimally annoying.

    The layer change occurs at 74:49 at the start of chapter twenty-one during a natural fade to black. It is not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A single Cantonese Dolby Digital 448 kbps 5.1 soundtrack is provided on the disc.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand at all times.

    No dropouts or problems with audio sync were detected.

    The original score by Michael Galasso makes its presence felt throughout the film, and it always suits the on-screen action. This impressive score is complemented by a number of Latin musical selections from the time period.

    The surround channels are used effectively throughout the transfer to create an enveloping mix.

    The LFE channel is used to support the score but it never makes its presence felt.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

Additional Scenes

    This is a collection of four deleted scenes from the film. These scenes are presented with a Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and they are not 16x9 enhanced; a set of white English subtitles is provided. The first two scenes also include a second soundtrack with a number of comments by director Wong Kar-wai between the original dialogue. These comments are in Cantonese and are translated in the subtitle stream. The third scene also includes a short comment by the director in the subtitle stream. The following scenes are included in this section:

Hong Kong Gala Premiere (13:24)

    This section is a collection of footage from the film's Hong Kong premiere, including the guests' arrival, and a number of interview comments by cast and crew members. This extra is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Cantonese soundtrack, and does not include any subtitles. In the top left corner of the image a flashing VCR on-screen-display time symbol is present throughout the section.

Music Video: Tony Leung (4:17)

    This music video is presented with a Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

Interview with Wong Kar-wai (22:13)

    This is an interesting interview with director Wong Kar-wai discussing his experiences working on this film. This extra is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film has been released by numerous companies in different countries around the world. Below is a listing of some of the various versions that have been made available:

Canadian R1 Séville's Release

USA R1 Criterion 2 Disc Release

French R2 TF1 Video / Ocean Films 2 Disc Limited Edition

UK R2 Tartan Video 2 Disc Release

UK R2 Tartan Video Single Disc Release

Hong Kong R3 Mei-Ah 2 Disc Special Edition

    The R1 Criterion release of this film is the version of choice due to its extensive collection of extras and excellent transfer. Completists may also wish to obtain the UK or French 2 disc versions due to the different extras.


    In The Mood For Love is a well-structured entertaining love story that features excellent performances and will not be quickly forgotten by viewers.

    The 16x9 enhanced video transfer displays no significant artefacts and is acceptable quality.

    The 5.1 soundtrack is very high quality and it is able to capture the stunning score for the film.

    An interesting collection of extras is included, but they are disappointing when compared to the items included on foreign releases.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Thursday, October 31, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Better late than never? -
aspect ratio & anamorphicism - REPLY POSTED
Alternate views on Criterion transfer - Peter Allen