How could you forget "Amores Perros" from the brilliant Inaritu (whose movies are completely absent from your list)? I can't believe movies such as "A ma soeur" made it but not that one... Nice choice of movies otherwise
Time Out's 101 Films of the Decade – Part 12, with reactions from Peter Jackson, David Fincher, Guillermo del Toro and more…
Predictable? Maybe. Deserving? Undoubtedly. Prepare to swoon and sigh with Wong Kar-Wai's sweeping romance: our favourite film of the decade.
1. In the Mood for Love (2000)Directed by Wong Kar-WaiIt's all too beautifulIn many respects, Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’, the film voted Time Out’s best of the past decade, could have been made at any time in the last century. Its story of an unsought love that develops in contravention of social expectations and is frustrated by the practicalities of life, though timeless, somehow befits a period setting; in this, it anticipates ‘Brokeback Mountain’, another recent film set in the 1960s, and recalls ‘Brief Encounter’, Douglas Sirk and a whole tranche of Chinese romantic cinema, not to mention romantic literature. And Wong’s bravura technique, though adventurous, is more modernist than postmodernist, formally expressing psychological and emotional interiority rather than interrogating genre convention or audience expectations. The film, in other words, is not the radical standard-bearer for a new century so much as the superlative development of a longstanding storytelling tradition at which the movies excel.This story begins in Hong Kong in 1962. As the Chan and Chow couples move into rooms in neighbouring shared apartments, their belongings get mixed up, foreshadowing the intermingling of their marriages: before long, amid a communal hubbub in which every meal consumed and favour exchanged bears an expressive load, we realise that Mr Chan and Mrs Chow, never more than glimpsed from behind, have become involved; with regretful, incremental delicacy, Mrs Chan (Maggie Cheung) and Mr Chow (Tony Leung) recognise this too.
Wong too gives himself boundaries, both developing and constraining the sophisticated cinematic language he had developed on pictures like ‘Days of Being Wild’, ‘Chungking Express’ and ‘Happy Together’ with production designer William Chang and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, here sharing a credit with Mark Lee Ping-bin. Narrative is approached elliptically, through repetitions and cycles that evoke the experience of routine and memory rather than conventional dramatic progression; on occasion, the only way to chart the passage of time is through the variety of Mrs Chan’s cheongsam dresses. Consistent in cut, as restrictive as Mr Chow’s equally ubiquitous neckties, their patterns vary from lava-lamp blobs to Rorschach blots, fluctuating shimmers to bold floral prints. It’s hard not to think of a chameleon, emotions flaring across its skin even as it remains placidly poised.
The film’s technique revisits a roster of gorgeous motifs – songs, shots, encounters – to establish and vary its emotional terrain. Cropped compositions and jump cuts suggestive of incompletion and destabilisation are set against the lush patterning and luminous slow motion of romance, and this tension is echoed in the leads’ rigorously contained performances. The result is an almost trancelike state of beauty sustained and fulfilment deferred, an ecstasy of longing.
The trailer is set to Bryan Ferry’s cover of the song that gives the film its English title but is never heard in it. (The feature offers instead the oblique pleasures of Nat King Cole singing in Spanish and the aching strings of Shigeru Umebayashi’s waltz from the 1991 film ‘Yumeji’.) As ironically loaded a title as ‘Happy Together’, the tension between song and story here is less sardonic than bittersweet. Sensuous, sinuous, sincere, Ferry’s arrangement, like Wong’s picture, winds us through the surprise, the yearning, the defiance, the submission and the wonder of love, stressing the joy to which we mustn’t allow the sadness of its possible transience to blind us. ‘Why stop to think of whether this little dream might fade? We’ve put our hearts together. Now we are one, I’m not afraid.’ BW
Read the Time Out review here
View the personal top tens here
Explore the list: |101-91 | | 90-81 | | 80-71 | | 70-61 | | 60-51 |
| 50-41 | | 40-31 | | 30-21 | | 20-11 | 10-6 | 5-2 |
You sirs are, not to put too fine a point on it, barmy. The Two Towers (positively and totally the worst of the 3 lord of the rings films) makes the list but the return of the king (the slightly better film) doesn't ? At least you got it right by placing the Fellowship higher - the only film of the three that had any interest in character development as well as plot development, and that didn't become just another action movie.
I've just seen the utter rubbish that was voted for No.1. As pointed my M T, it had to be pretintious finale to the list. "... superlative development of a longstanding storytelling tradition at which the movies excel." THIS FILM HAS NO STORY, there are just pretty pictures
Wonderful list and broadly speaking very difficut to argue with which makes a change from other "Greatest Film of ....." lists. Maybe missing The Beat My Heart Skipped and Moulin Rouge but a fantastic list and a great read...
What an absolutely wonderful choice for #1! I agree that it's the finest film of the decade, if not of all time. I'm also very pleased to see the beautiful Talk to Her, my personal #2, in 7th spot. Great list team.
Not one of Cronenberg's masterpieces from the decade made the list, but crap like "School of Rock" did; of course. What the hell is going on here? I halfway expected to see "Aliens vs Predator" as no. 1, seing how the integrity of TO has fallen from grace lately. Jesus Christ.
Quite often I disagree with your verdict on films, but the number one on this list was a sudden flooding of happiness running through my veins. Good work!
pretty good list i think but i am APALLED at the fact moulin rouge isnt up there anywhere...i mean it's not number one but seriously, not on the list at all?! that's really a shame.
Feeling pretty out of touch as I scanned through the list...then there it is no.1! There is justice in the world, my fave film is there. Yippee!
What a great list - definitely the best of this sort I've seen so far. So pleased to see some genuinely great films getting high places (Jesse James for example) and a truly brilliant and often overlooked film at No.1. I don't always agree with your reviewers, but this list is impressively done.
I can call people what I like. Mr. T, you can eat my crap. I knew you would reply sooner or later, and it's just taken a few days of waiting to get my chance. In your face Mr. T!! Oh and by the way. Kindergarten Cop is not very good.
Hey, listen you guys. I weren't trying to say Kindergarten Cop was supposed to be number 1. Although, I was suprised not to see it in the top 30. Somebody called me Mr. T. I find that offensive. Is it because I don't get on planes? What about the classic film DeathRace 2000? Surely that should be in the top 101!! There's no justice.
A good selection of notable films. As an Indian I am not sure how you included Lagaan. May be because it got show cased in London, may be. There are lot other films and I would request the reviewers to spare time for these in case they are looking out at Indian films. Have you heard about "Mr and Mrs Iyer" ? The choice of In the Mood for Love is a pleasant surprise. And I fully support the same. There are a few things which are intangible. And Wong Kar Wai is a master of narration of the intangible. Overall a good solid list.
M T's comment inadvertently makes the case for lists like this - I find it hard to imagine that anybody who'd actually seen In the Mood for Love could find it a 'pretentious' or even surprising choice as #1 film, and it's great to think that this will help introduce the wonderful films of Wong Kar-Wai to people who have not encountered them before
A superb, rarefied list and a shrill testament to Time Out's exceptional contribution to film - i truly believe you folks - DC, TH (hang in there kid, ignore the crazies) and DJ - are world class film critics. Thanks, have a good new year. x (Sorry, just a thought, 'Tokyo Sonata'?)
Mr T - you've got to be kidding if you haven't heard of Wong Kar-wai or In the Mood for Love. Or does your appreciation of film purely revolve around those of the western world? An excellent choice for #1, Time Out.
Great to see Jesse James at no.6 - such an overlooked film and agree with No Country and There will be Blood in top 5 but a typical Time Out choice at number one - a film many will never have heard of - pretentious finale to the list although I maybe I will have to go out and buy it - it does sounds brilliant
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