Subtle romance: my favorite clip from Fallen Angels

I can't believe this movie is 15 years old, and that I first watched it almost five years ago.  I was reminded of it today when we were watching Chungking Express and I thought to myself, sure, I kind of like this movie but there was something about Fallen Angels, the sequel/companion film by Wong Kar Wai, that spoke to me.  Maybe because the characters are much more shockingly odd, and the film itself that much murkier, sad and ardent.

I don't remember a whole lot about the film (you can find an analysis of it here) except this one scene where Cherry and the Mute are sitting in a cafe after they've been chasing down her ex-boyfriend and Mute realizes he's falling in love with her.  I love the way the shot is set up, with hapless Cherry gazing obliviously in the other direction while Mute, whom we have come to know as someone unworthy of respect, yet whom we want to indulge despite ourselves, leans towards her and breathes her in with such dreamy enjoyment that you really wish she'd come to her senses already.  Meanwhile, the world behind them buzzes with activity, but you can't take your eyes off this quiet moment of stolen intimacy.

I don't think this scene is supposed to be taken literally, but I think it captures an element of misappropriate longing that anyone with a little wistful strangeness in them will recognize right away.  There's something about the bold, unrequited movement in this scene that I like very much. I screen-capped it for your viewing pleasure, followed by a very excellent fan-made vide o that centers on the weird but beautiful Takeshi Kaneshiro's character, the Mute.