Review : In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love is a film by Wong Kar Wai that was released in the year 2000. It is a story of obstructed love by the society and their norms. It is a bittersweet tale of unrequited love and of finding solace in another person, which reciprocates those feelings but is bound by their faith. It is a different take on a love story. The film begins with a short scene, describing it as an “awkward moment” for Mr Chow and Mrs Chan as they meet for the first time in the hallway. The opening sequences states “Hong Kong, 1962” as to tell us the exact location and time the film is set in. During this entire film, we are made to pay attention to the scene; for example, when the characters are talking, the focus is given to an object so that people pay more attention to the conversation that is playing in the background.

In this film, “visual theme” or “Mise-en-scène” is used very effectively to focus the audience into the underlying story. the duality of them being together but not together sets the theme in this film. Everytime they are together, it is mostly reflection shots. Wong Kar Wai uses reflection to tell another story all together. In his analysis of In the Mood for Love, Gary Bettinson wrote:

Noir iconography invades the misc en scene: ringing telephones and doorbells remain discomfortingly unanswered; cigarettes are obsessively smoked and function as ubiquitous markers of anxiety; and at night a perpetual rainfall pounds the lamp-lined streets of Hong Kong (175).

One of the key elements of In the Mood for Love is its cinematography. The detail shots (of the phone or objects), long shots (of corridors), the edit breaks (between two scenes) really bring in the movie together. Wong Kar Wai in an interview said much of the film was shot using normal lens as it ‘seeks to avoid noticeable perspective distortions’, giving the audience the feeling of being present during the movie. He used framed close-ups to ‘convey the quality of a personal encounter’. Wong speaks of In the Mood for Love being inspired by Hitchcock’s Vertigo;

“I wanted to treat it like a Hitchcock film, where so much happens outside the frame, and the viewer’s imagination creates a kind of suspense. Vertigo, especially, is something I always kept returning to in making the film.” Being truthful to his description, he uses a variety of shots and creates suspense by using props like partitions and window grills. This can also be seen as a metaphor for portraying Mr Chow and Mrs Chan’s feelings of being trapped.

Music plays a critical role in this film. The sound of the violin creates a mod of sadness and monotony, which indeed is depictive of both of their lives. The music also marks how their relationship progresses. The music is very specific to make you feel exactly what the characters go through. The music is made and played in such a way that you really invest yourself in the particular scene and feel like a part of the conversation. ‘When Chow calls Su before leaving for Singapore, he asks her to move with him; there is no reply from her but the song “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas” starts to play, hinting that the answer is “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”. On many occasions the round of rain contributes to the setting of this story.

The aesthetic of the film moves with the feelings of Mrs Chow. At first, her dressing is dull and monotonous but as she starts spending time with Mr Chow; her dressing becomes more colorful, brighter and even floral. Throughout the film, she wears a ‘Cheongsam’, which is a traditional Chinese ensemble for women. Even the set of the film changes, as the scenes get brighter and colorful. She sometimes repeats her outfits, which make you, wonder if it is a continuation of a previous scene or is it an entirely different scene. The way the film is edited makes it difficult to answer this question and confuses the audience. The breaks in this scene are used effectively as it leaves a sense of mystery but the next scene reenacts it anyway. The audience always knows what happens when one scene shifts into another. The story itself has different underlying issues. There is a constant connection throughout the film.

Mr Chow and Mrs Chan reenact their spouses’ affair but the barrier is soon broken when Mrs Chan asks “Do you have a mistress?”. They are in their own relationship but they fall in love. They seek comfort in each other but soon realize what they’re doing is much worse because they have connected on a different emotional level unlike their spouses who have a rather physical relationship. Not showing the faces of their respected spouses also portrays their attitude of not caring about their partners.

The story itself being a play on its title justifies it as both of the characters crave love but don’t receive it from their respective partners. The film is beautifully depicting the feelings and state of the characters and leaves a grave impression of the viewer as they are suddenly bombarded with questions about the film and its characters.

Works Cited:

In the Mood For Love, Wong Kar Wai.

Soundtrack Review of In the Mood for Love, Glenn McClanan

http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2011/dec/19/in-the-mood-for-love

http://www.academia.edu/2419796/Labyrinth_of_Time_in_Wong_Kar-Wai_s_In_the_Mood_for_Love_and_2046

http://blogs.dickinson.edu/eastasiancinema/category/in-the-mood-for-love/

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Precipitate – Final

Precipitate takes you through the journey of a damaged girl who has grown up to participate in all negative indulgences. When we usually look at a girl or a person like this, our reaction is judgement. Our music video throws light on the cause, the childhood and background of what led to this present scenario. Rejection, loss and ignorance moulded her childhood, she learnt from the worst and became a bitter person.

Click on the link below to view our film:

THE CONDUIT – FINAL

The conduit is a passage of time that takes you through the nightmare of a little boy, Shanay. The glimpses and flashes of his horrific dream reflect in his drastic movements in the very beginning, which further leads you into the dream. While there is an overlying narrative of Shanay being haunted by his own ghost – the alternatively occurring fantastical and surreal imagery represents the absurdity of the dreams we see.

Sense of Sound: Music Video

Final:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQkrW8qXDcE&feature=youtu.be

The final music video showcases a repressed woman in the society. How violence is imposed on her causing her to be socially inactive and alone. Her experience of life is quite different as this world is a cruel place, which is not allowing her to live in peace. This makes her go on a search of an outside world where she lives one with herself.

Sehnsucht represents thoughts and feelings about all facts of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for ideal alternative experiences. It has been referred to as “life’s longings”; or an individual’s search for happiness while coping with the reality of unattainable wishes.

Since week 1 our main idea behind all our sounds and videos was monotony and the idea of people walking, that’s why for our final video we wanted to show a journey and a sense of monotony. Our idea was to show a girl who is going through an emotional journey and is walking to something better.

Process:

Idea #1:

https://soundcloud.com/sharanya-kanwar/music-track

Our music piece made us feel really eerie and mysterious. Thus, for our music video we wanted to show the journey of a mysterious girl walking through the city. Since we have two beats in our music piece and have a duality to it, we are planning to show the fast footsteps as the rest of the world that surrounds this girl and the girl as the slow beats (walking in her own world). In an abstract way it’s like the whole world is dominating her and she’s walking alone in her own slow pace.

Feedback:

Need to build the character sketch of the mysterious girl and what makes her mysterious?

Need to define what is the world in which she is getting dominated? OR She could be in conflict with herself.

The piece of music has duality, need to look over it and think about it.

Think about how the video ends; is there a climax, start and an end? OR is it open ended.

Idea #2:

In the music video we tried to portray a girl going through domestic violence and how at the verge of ending her life she realises the joy of living. She realises that only person who controls her life is her and this realisation makes her a confident and self reliant person.We show her as not being afraid of the crowd and in the end taking control.

FullSizeRender

Sound: Essay on Sound & Cinema

We often think of film only as a visual experience, we tend to underestimate the value of the sound element in it. If our sight is not supported by sound, the experience remains incomplete. Ever watched a silent film? That too has prominent sounds in it. Lyrics or words are not the only sounds we hear. Sounds include all the noises that help create a mood, enhancing the visual experience.

An example of a silent film with sounds is Metropolis by Fritz Lang. Though the film is visually exhilarating, the characters convey a lot through expressions. Silence is not mute. It is given form through background music and landscapes. Music accompaniment is always present in a silent film. More so since it lacks direct conversation. In the film, silence can be extremely vivid and varied, for although it has no voice, it has very many expressions and gestures. A silent glance can speak volumes; its soundlessness makes it more expressive because the facial movements of a silent figure may explain the reason for the silence, make us feel its weight, its menace, its tension. In the film, silence does not halt action even for an instant and such silent action gives even silence a living face. The scene where Frederer goes down to the factory and takes the place of the worker, so as to experience a day of life in the real world, his expression is enough for the viewer to judge what he wants to say. Just as one can distinguish between the real Maria and the evil one through the slight tone in music and body language without her having to say anything. When the real Maria is on screen, the instrumental music goes on as it does but, when the evil one takes her place, the music tends to have a higher, more dramatic pitch (drum beats with pauses).

Bela Balaza’s in her essay states that we cannot hear dimension or direction. We find it hard to understand the direction of sound in a film unless it is generated in a certain space. We can only feel silence when we can hear the most distant sound in a quiet place or inversely when there is sudden silence amidst a chaotic scene. For instance, when a new character enters a noisy company, the tone tends to change to emphasize the entry of the newcomer and shift focus on him. She believes that we are used to hearing particular sounds that we are immune to most of them. Having heard them multiple times, we chose to stop paying attention to them. Though we subconsciously hear them, the brain does not register them at the moment and the sounds become more like background music. We know its there but do not pay attention to it because if several sounds are present at the same time, they merge into one composite sound.

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ is a very good example of sound in film. Few directors have had their relationship with music analysis as much as him. Over the years, his music has become synonymous with his filmmaking style. It is difficult to define the actual aural level of this movie. In an article Guillermo del Toro went to some lengths to describe Hitchcock’s relation with sound and dialogue to the ideas prevalent in the movie The Birds, “Even if Hitchcock resented the fact that sound brought with it theatrical affectations that set back the purity of cinema, he chose to embrace the change, and expanded the possibilities of sound, which became another “pure cinema” tool through which he could express his thematic concerns.”

In the birds there is a sense of purity and trust in his images unseen and unheard in any of his other films. Instead of relying on music to heighten the drama and horror, he uses dynamics to affect sound.

The addition of sound did not simply mean that actors could now talk, it meant bigger changes in the way that films were produced. Scenarists now had also to be dialogue writers. Actors now had to be models of articulateness and fluency as well as spectacular artists. Certain exotic roles became far less fashionable, in part because foreign accents were harder to understand with primitive microphone and amplification technologies, in part because the fantasy of the Asian vamp or the Italian villain seemed more kitschy with the added reality of sound, and in part because some foreign types began to seem rather stereotypical and xenophobic. Some verbal kinds of comedy were simply not possible until sound was merged with film. And, of course, at least one whole genre would not have been possible without sound: the musical.
In the 2001 film, ‘Shrek’ the protagonist is introduced and portrayed as both a conventional and non-stereotypical ogre through various film techniques, especially sound. In the opening scene, diegetic sounds are used to portray Shrek’s stereotypical personality of an ogre. For example, when Shrek burps and farts, these sounds are anticipated features of an ogre’s behavior, and by including these in the film, it introduces the fact that, although he challenges the stereotype, this character still possesses the traditional behaviors of an ogre. Another example of diegetic sound is mud slopping out of the tree trunk; this shows the audience the dirty environment in which the scene will be set. A conglomeration of these techniques creates Shrek’s stereotyped personality.

Shrek possesses some very unconventional qualities for his species. The filmmakers used a wide variety of techniques to create his non-stereotypical side. When many people think of ogres they think of uncivil, unclean, Neanderthal creatures. Creatures that aren’t supposed to talk and hence don’t talk. In the film, the character of Shrek clearly undermines these stereotypes by having the ‘human’ privilege of talking. On top of this he has quite a personality, a comical, pessimistic, sarcastic personality at that. The main feature used to create this personality is the film’s script. Shrek makes a wide range of pessimistic comments against fairytales, particularly Happily Ever After’s. This is clearly conveyed to the audience through the tone in the actor’s voice, and the sentence, “Aw, like that’s ever going to happen,” before he rips out the page to use as toilet paper. In the opening scene, Shrek, despite his stereotypical features, still appears to be quite civilized for an ogre. He goes through a daily routine, and although it isn’t a routine we’d expect, he still brushes his teeth, cleans his home, has a shower and bath (or spa), and sets up a candlelit dinner, just like a regular human being would do. Being a children’s animated film, the sound adds to the drama making it more interesting keeping the kids responsiveness at all times.

Sight: Assignment 2

Chola Bronze Statue

   The Cholas came to power in the late 9th century, and until the late 13th century. Chola rulers were active patrons, and during their reign, poetry, drama, music, and dance flourished.  Some of the best-known artistic remains from this time period are the bronzes that were commissioned for temples.

It was Rajaraja Chola who gave a great boost to the Chola sculptures ands architecture. One of the main features of the Chola sculptures was that the most trifle details were taken into account. The sculptures were intricately done. They were very expressive. Created using the lost-was technique, they possessed grace, elegance and above all else, they had life. Besides the usual images of gods and goddesses foliage sculpture, perforated windows, animal imageries and others were recurrent motifs as well. The elegance and stateliness of these temples and their sculptures are impressive beyond doubt.

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Above is a cola bronze sculpture of lord Shiva alongside his wife Parvati. In this 12th century example, the space between Shiva and Parvati would once have been filled by a small image of their son Skanda, who is worshipped as both a divine child and the god of war. Small sculptures of Skanda are easy to remove and are often missing from images of this type. Shiva can be recognized by the crescent moon and skull in his hair while Parvati can be recognized by the conical crown and triple bend -Tribhanga pose. One of her hand is positioned in a way symbolic of holding a flower while the other rests on the floor behind her, supporting her body in its current position.

Dance Form

Bharatnatyam

Bharatnatyam is the manifestation of an ancient idea of a celebration of the eternal universe through the beauty of the material body. A dance form over 2000 years old, it is popular in the southern parts of India and is known to be native to the people of Tamil Nadu. Bharat Muni’s Natya Shastra has in it imbibed the texts of this dance in Sanskrit and talks about the elements of dance such as Bhav, Raag, Shringar and so on. Some of the renowned dancers and gurus belong to Devdasi families. Bharatnatyam is all about expression. The dancer on stage has a message to convey or a story to tell which is put across without words, through Mudra’s –hand gestures and facial expressions. The dance begins and ends with a ‘namaskar’ where the dancer bows down to the earth and thanks her for allowing the dancer to dance on its ground. In multiple simple ways as this, the dance celebrates the universe and existence in itself.

Nataraja

Natraja – God worshipped by the dancers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JQXO3nJH18

Sight: Assignment 1

1  The image above comprises of two pictures with possibly the same girl standing still in one while she strikes a pose in the other. She is wearing a simple, ankle length, navy blue dress in the picture on the left and a short, slightly revealing red and blue dress in the picture on the right. There seems to be a transformation in attitude from one picture to another. In the left picture, her body language suggests that’s she looks nerdy, suppressed and mostly sad, she seems to be in the dark, struggling to get out of the situation that she is in currently. On the right however, she stands tall with her head high like she may be challenging the person in front of her. She is fearless and her expression appears to be dominating. That extra dash of red in her dress adds to her fire. The heels that she is wearing add to her height and help enhance her posture. Her hair and make up accentuate the entire look. The picture on the right has a blue background as opposed to the yellow one on the left. This adds life to the image. Besides, there is a ray of light directed towards her which probably means that she alone is the one under the spotlight in a larger area.

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Hussain was now an orphan. They had killed his parents last summer and were now on the hunt for him, his uncles and aunts and his younger siblings. He didn’t know who “they” were or why they wanted his head but he knew that sooner or later, they would come for him. He spent each day in the fear that it might be his last. According to his uncles, living in an isolated cottage a little away from civilization was the solution to their problem. They tried to protect Hussain and his siblings by never letting them out of the house. One evening his uncles went hunting leaving him in charge. He comforted his family and tucked them into bed and sat leaning against the wall, peering through the tiny hole. After an hour or two, he saw his uncles returning with a huge animal, a hearty meal but they seemed to be more in number. This got him thinking. As they got closer, he could see five men with guns in their hands. As soon as they crossed the bridge, those men he cringed at the sound of bullets. The next thing he saw were dead bodies lying pure white snow, slowly coloring it red. He knew it was his turn next. Incapable of any action, he gasped for air, took his last few breaths and prepared to re-unite with his parents.

Sense of Sound: Final Music Video

Unregistered:

The eternal question still lays ringing in all our minds. Are we really safe in the world we live in? I am a girl, I am a boy, I am a human. Each human irrespective of gender, caste, sex, status is left vulnerable when it comes to sexual assault. Our music video is a social statement against sexual assault. The video emphasizes on the fact that any individual can be dangerous and any individual can be in danger.


Go watch it now: