For this assignment we will be analyzing Wong Kar Wai’s 2000 film In the Mood for Love, available on Kanopy. (Our most accessible and contemporary film, by an internationally popular director.) You’ll follow the usual procedure of questioning and analysis (as outlined in the other assignments and suggested in the How to Read a Film document). What is the film about? (Themes, ideas.) How does the film convey this? While it is crucial to consider dialogue and plot, focus especially on formal elements—such as the framing of the camera; the positioning of characters within the frame and against the landscape; what is shown and what is not shown. Consider elements of sound as well. (A lot of musical slow-motion in this one; Hong Kong films often have this luxurious, painterly quality.) What is the mood created? And what creates that mood? Look for patterns, details—choices that mark the style of the film.
Consider the film as a text. If we were analyzing an article/essay, we would want to be as firmly grounded in the specifics as possible: quoting passages, paraphrasing paragraphs—and responding to them directly. So consider specific scenes and sequences. Use specific scenes of the film as your launch pad.
So—by analyzing what the film does, how it works, approach an interpretation of it. (These will differ wildly, as it is such an abstract, dream-like film.)
Your paper should be formatted with 1-inch margins; 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced. It should be between 4 and 6 pages long.
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