How can a film’s setting feel so massive in scope and scale, yet so insular, as if it’s a microcosm of some grander universal design?

This question and others swirled through Barry Jenkins’ mind when first absorbing the cinematic world of Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love. Invited to the Criterion library to shoot the ice-breaking video of the distribution label’s new video series “Under the Influence,” the writer-director shared his personal reflections on the 1994 masterpiece that broke some old rules, wrote some new ones and would go on to influence the likes of Sofia Coppola and many more formally innovative independents of the late ’90s and early aughts.

Watch Jenkins—whose Moonlight cleaned house at last night’s Gotham Awards—marvel at Wong’s distinct language of light, shadow and burning desire:

High on the sensory pleasures of Wong and Jenkins’ films? Keep the buzz going strong with our “Eye Piece” installment by Moonlight cinematographer James Laxton on how he achieved the film’s sensitive-yet-bold, subtle-yet-strong visuals, and our interview with famed In the Mood for Love cinematographer Christopher Doyle. MM

Featured image courtesy of The Criterion Collection.