IN THE MIDST OF LOVE by WILLIAM SUNG

Directed by William Sung / Reviewed by Adva Reichman

The film begins with a man punching another guy unconscious, and then steals his watch and wallet. As he does so, a woman steps out of a building and sees him. She then hurries away, but he follows her and stops her. One would expect the man to threaten her to keep quiet, but instead, as he grabs her by the wrist, something magical transpires.

Up until that moment his behavior, clothes and even the walls around him and the lighting are gray. That is, until she walks into his life. The woman is filled with color. And not just any color, but red as in love and passion. The same ones she awakens in him.

As he grabs her to ask where she’s going, we see their connection in slow motion and grasp the importance this moment will have on their life.

The woman, not yet convinced by this, breaks free and walks away. The man is left standing there. Mesmerized he notices a card she dropped. As the woman leaves his life are gray again. The red card is the only reminder of how different it can be.

The director, DP, production designer and costume designer all worked together on creating the mood around the couple.

The man finds her workplace by the card she dropped. As he enters, the music changes and marks a new phase. He sees the woman singing at the bar, but when she’s done she hugs her significant other. While doing so, she notices the man looking at her.

The scene is completely covered by a song, which for a moment is a bit confusing and even jarring because we see the woman sing but her lips don’t match what we hear. I almost wish it was her voice we hear singing.

The man sits at the bar with a drink, watching the woman being intimate with her spouse. He tries to come between them, visually, but loses. You can see the shots were carefully crafted and tell the story very well.With him failing, the uplifting music changes.

The man turns his back on the couple, but then the woman approaches. Supposedly for a drink, but in reality, to be close to him. He grabs her hand again. Reminding her the connection he felt. Again, when she looks at him we see her in slow motion. The spark is back.

They converse and laugh in a unique closeness. The interesting part is that for the first time we see the man is wearing a wedding ring. Is it another way to show his gray life and how he belongs elsewhere?

Her angry spouse drinks and waits for her at home. As she arrives, they fight and it’s the most dialogue we had so far.

Throughout the film, the director kept the dialogue to a minimum, letting the beautiful cinematography and music do most of the talking. This minimalism doesn’t work for every film, but this one found the formula.

The man asks the woman if she would be with him, if it wasn’t for her spouse.  She answers very simply by saying she doesn’t know, and he is crushed. Again, the choice of dialogue is subtle and exact. You only get what you absolutely need. I would even cut out her second line about being exhausted.

At the end, the woman eats alone in a restaurant. Her food is set before her, and she beings eating. For a moment it seems as if she chose neither of the men, but then the editor intercut her eating with the main man getting ready and heading over.

Again, we see the ring on his finger, but know nothing of it. This actually raised questions I wish we got an answer for. As he sits across from her we go into slow motion again as she looks up at him and smiles.

The cinematography is stunning, the editing is accurate, the music informs us about the man’s state of mind. All of those along with the delicate acting and the precise and attentive directing keep the film going and its pace flowing.

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