Popular Genre and In the Mood for Love
This chapter sets out to clarify Wong Kar-wai’s reliance on popular genre, qualifying the critical perspective that Wong is an “anti-genre” filmmaker. Rather, genre is seen here to facilitate three interlinked objectives for Wong: it functions to commercial advantage, attracting financiers and audiences; it animates major authorial preoccupations; and it permits Wong’s cinephilia full play. The chapter goes on to offer a large-scale analysis of In the Mood for Love and the ways in which it negotiates the conventions of traditional melodrama. This analysis isolates the prime thematic concerns that inform so many of Wong’s characters and stories, manifest within In the Mood for Love through a narrative emphasis on fate, personal responsibility, authenticity, chance, and coincidence.
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