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Chungking Express (1994) March 5, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Film.

It seems appropriate that the first entry in this blog should be about my current favourite movie and the source for the blog title. Chungking Express by Wong Kar-Wai has been one of my favourite films for a good six years, ever since I first saw it at a film society screening in my first year at University. But given my current 2046-fueled WKW obsession, it’s shot up my personal chart. Having picked up the excellent Artificial Eye DVD release a couple of weeks ago, I’ve found myself watching it non-stop since.

A good 10 years old now, Chungking Express has lost none of its energy, none of its poignancy and none of its magic. Arguably, this is the most optimistic film WKW has made. Always one to dwell on the pain of yearning, WKW’s movies have got increasingly more beautiful but far more melancholy culminating in the epic teardrop that is 2046. Chungking Express is almost the anti-2046. Beautifully simple in design, magically true in its concept and wonderfully acted, Chungking Express creates an dream-like atmosphere like no-other. Two stories of two cops and their relationships set to a wonderful (though ultra-repetitive) soundtrack, it is not so much a film but an experience. It’s the greatest, longest, most memorable night out you’ve ever had, crammed into 97 little minutes.

What I love about Chungking Express, what fills me with wide-eyed excitement every time I see it (and I’ve seen it 8 times) is the eccentricity of it all. The characters are so quirky they are just a millimeter off true -we all know people who are almost like this and would be if we wrote them in a movie script. Nuggets of dialogue emerge as life philosophies and it contains possibly the greatest shot of all time -a moment of silence as Cop #633 (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) drinks his coffee, laments the end of his relationship and all the while watched by a dreamy Faye Wong as the people of Chungking mansions pass by. Ah, yes, Faye. Watch this and feel what it’s like to fall in love.

For me, Chungking Express is the perfect film. Simple, sweet and very empathic. It says life is full of heart-break, but somehow the romantic heart keeps going. If that doesn’t speak to me, I don’t know what does.



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