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The Week’s Scene #11: Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan Make the Decision to Separate in “In The Mood For Love” (2000).
The Week's Scene #11: Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan Make the Decision to Separate in "In The Mood For Love" (2000).

The Week’s Scene #11: Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan Make the Decision to Separate in “In The Mood For Love” (2000).

Together, they patiently wait for the rain to stop. Su Li-zhen declines Chow Mo-wan’s offer to share his umbrella, worried that their secret rendezvous will be exposed to their neighbors. Once the rain has stopped, she requests that they go their separate ways as her husband has come back. Chow Mo-wan agrees to this.

The two cinematographers, Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin, use a technique where the camera seems to be spying on the action, often with slow-moving shots. This approach is most evident in a scene where the main characters are first observed from behind a corner and then through a barred window. Additionally, when the male character touches the female character’s hands, it is shown in slow motion.

Using a different method in filmmaking, the sequence of events is not shown in a linear fashion. Rather, significant moments are randomly inserted throughout the timeline, such as Li-zhen’s tears and departure.

Maggie Cheung’s portrayal and demeanor reach their peak in this particular moment, as she adorns a stunning Mandarin dress and eventually breaks down in tears, despite her attempt to maintain a strong and distant facade.