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Liu Yichang and Wong Kar-wai

Liu Yichang and Wong Kar-wai

The Class Trap in In the Mood for Love

(p.98) Chapter 4 Liu Yichang and Wong Kar-wai
Adapted for the Screen
Hsiu-Chuang Deppman
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the everyday life of middle-class couples in the thriving capitalist environment of 1960s and 1970s Hong Kong. A melodrama, In the Mood for Love (2000) illustrates an aborted romance between two working middle-class people entangled in the hypocritical demands of bourgeois morality. The basis for this movie, Liu Yichang’s modernist novella entitled Intersection (1972), records the interior monologues of two different characters—an elderly male Shanghainese immigrant and a young local Hong Kong girl—as they saunter through the maze of Hong Kong’s cityscape and survey the mercantile environment with their restless gaze. Wong Kar-wai’s film bears little resemblance to the original story and his method of adaptation is the most abstract discussed here. He uses what some scholars call “intersecting adaptation,” a style that seeks to show that the film is the novel as seen by cinema.

Keywords:   middle class, bourgeois morality, Hong Kong, In the Mood for Love, Intersection, Wong Kar-wai, Liu Yichang, intersecting adaptation

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