In the Mood For Love (Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong, 2001)
Almost completely sublime in its atmosphere and look, ITMFL exists almost in the ether, in a dreamlike state that make the images here feel otherworldly. A lot of credit has to do with Christopher Doyle's cinematography, which only enhances the scenes and characters Wong creates. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung play neighbors in Hong Kong who come to realize that their spouses are having an affair with each other. Since their significant others are away for quite a while the two bond, but being sure never to become like their spouses. What Wong really achieves through these two characters is how unkind unrequited love can be. Leung's Mr. Chow clearly has feelings for Cheung's character but can't resolve it with the stand both have taken following their spouse's affair. The yearning of the characters is only enhanced through the gorgeous images and colors the film is bathed in, creating a dream world where the key point is the only element not matching. This is just such a fantastic film to look at that it is a bit easy to forget how bittersweet the actual story turns out. Leung and Cheung are both phenomenal in their roles, locking into the insecurity and yearning that lies beneath their friendship. No film this decade so accurately portrayed the bittersweet nature of love, all the while looking so good.