In the Mood for Love. Gorgeous, seductive movie. One of the dilemmas here is, (how) can you get what you want if you don’t want to be the kind of person that would do what it takes to get it? When you’re watching it, it’s easy to sympathize with the protagonists, but afterward… don’t they seem a little, um, weird? I love the parallels in setting and architecture. They’re so hemmed in, so much kept inside. Thematically, it pairs well with David Lean’s Brief Encounter.
On Michael Mann, Terrence Malick, David Lynch, Wong Kar-wai and Hou Hsiao-hsien, etc.:
The sensualists are bored with dramatic housekeeping. They’re interested in sensations and emotions, occurrences and memories of occurrences. If their films could be said to have a literary voice, it would fall somewhere between third person and first — perhaps as close to first person as the film can get without having the camera directly represent what a character sees.
Yet at the same time sensualist directors have a respect for privacy and mystery. They are attuned to tiny fluctuations in mood (the character’s and the scene’s). But they’d rather drink lye than tell you what a character is thinking or feeling – or, God forbid, have a character tell you what he’s thinking or feeling. The point is to inspire associations, realizations, epiphanies — not in the character, although that sometimes happens, but in the moviegoer.
You can tell by watching the sensualists’ films, with their startling cuts, lyrical transitions, off-kilter compositions and judicious use of slow motion as emotional italics, that they believe we experience life not as dramatic arcs or plot points or in-the-moment revelations, but as moments that cohere and define themselves in hindsight — as markers that don’t seem like markers when they happen.
Directors of the Decade No. 9: The sensualists – Salon.com