The Soundtrack for
"In the Mood for Love"
There are times I wish I drank highballs and owned
a well-tailored elegant blue suit. That is how this soundtrack should be
listened to; a drink in one hand, a beautiful woman in a black evening
gown in the other and the record spinning lazily on the turntable. The
music is sumptuous, luxurious, mellow and nearly hypnotic. I have not been
able to stop listening to it since I picked it up a week ago. Underneath
the beautifully layered music though is such a sense of sadness and loneliness
that it seeps right into your bones like a wet winter chill and stays there
for the entirety of the playing.
I have yet to see Wong Kar-wai’s film In the Mood
for Love, but the forlorn tone of the sound track makes me almost fear
for what awaits me. One review has called this film “possibly the most
beautiful contemporary film on offer anywhere and certainly the most romantic
one since “Brief Encounter” (1945) set post-war hearts fluttering.” I can
hardly wait to see how this music is integrated into the film.
Wong Kar-wai has compiled an eclectic assortment
of music for his film - from Rebecca Pan (Leslie’s foster mother in Days
of Being Wild) singing an old tune “Bengawan Solo” to what sounds like
a couple of traditional Chinese tunes to Nat King Cole spinning out three
lovely, smooth (as only Nat can be) Spanish songs. Most of the soundtrack
though is dominated by beautifully textured and abjectly sad string arrangements
composed primarily by Michael Galasso along with a haunting number from
Shigeru Umebayashi that is played twice. It is forty seven minutes of wonderfully
moody music that continues to have a hold on me.
The beginning and end of the soundtrack are snippets
of dialogue – the first from Tony Leung Chiu-wai saying “It’s me. If there’s
an extra ticket, would you go with me?” and then Maggie Cheung repeating
the same at the end. It made me think of the final scene of Chungking Express.
The pictures here are included in the cd as lobby cards. At any rate, I
would recommend this soundtrack to anyone – mix yourself a highball, put
it on the turntable, sit back and let it wash over you.