Chungking Express (HK)

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Chungking Express (HK)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:44 pm

CHUNGKING EXPRESS (Chong qing sen lin)

Directed by Wong Kar-Wai (1994)

"If memories could be canned, would they have an expiration date?" - Cop 223

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express is a breathless tour de force that will leave you feeling exhilarated. Shot in the Kwaloon section of Hong Kong with a hand-held camera using impressionistic images, jump cuts, and stop-action camerawork, Wong vividly captures the kinetic energy of the city - its people, music, fast food cafes, and nightlife. Chungking Express is a quirky romantic comedy about chance encounters, lost opportunities, and the loneliness of city life where people never seem to communicate with each other directly. The film consists of two loosely connected stories involving different cops who have just broken up with their girlfriends. In the first sequence, most of the action takes place at a fast food stand called Chungking Express and little police-related activity is shown except for some choreographed shootouts.

He Zhiwu, Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) tells himself at the beginning of April that he will wait thirty days for his girlfriend May to come back to him before seeking another relationship. In mourning, he eats only from cans that have an expiration date of May 1st, his birthday. On May 1st, he eats thirty cans of pineapple (her favorite food) and jogs so "there will be no water left for tears" but it doesn't bring May back. His only connection is with a sturdy blonde played by veteran actress Brigitte Lin wearing a platinum blond wig. Unknown to him, she is a heroin smuggler on the run after a failed drug deal. They meet and go to his apartment but she simply passes out and he decides to move on. In the second episode, another lovelorn cop known only as Cop 633 (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) is in love with a stewardess and buys her a Chefs Salad from the same food stand every day.

When she dumps him after he brings her fish and chips, he becomes interested in Faye (Faye Wong), an endearingly goofy counter girl who works for her cousin at the same snack bar. Faye develops a crush on him and sneaks into his apartment when he's not there, rearranging his furniture, removing traces of his old girlfriend, decorating and cleaning while dancing around the house to the music of the Mamas and the Papas. Their relationship has a playful quality to it though they both maintain their distance. After she reappears after having been away for one year, she asks him where he wants to go and he replies "Wherever you want to take me". Chungking Express will take you wherever you want to go and it is a giddy ride -- full of style, substance, and self-reflective humor. In the hands of Wong Kar-Wai, alienation never seemed as much fun.

GRADE: A
howardschumann(d)
 


Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby wpqx » Sun Jun 05, 2005 5:43 pm

Way to get some reviews up, and a damn good film this one is. Not my personal favorite film from Wong, but still great.
wpqx
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Sun Jun 05, 2005 6:25 pm

I know it seems pretty egotistic but I just posted several reviews at trevor826s request.
howardschumann(d)
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby wpqx » Sun Jun 05, 2005 7:05 pm

true I'll get to it as well, must have gotten the same message.
wpqx
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:10 pm

Thank's both of you, I did write individual messages to several people because we need your input to make this site as good as (if not better) than it was. By the way wpqx, what is your favourite WKW film?

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby mikevan9 » Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:56 pm

I liked Chugking Express quite a bit too and was charmed by the Tony Leung/Faye Wong story. But I have to admit, seeing it recently, boy has Takeshi Kaneshiro come a long way. He was, I thought, overly mannered in this one (some of it, I understand, is intentional but I always bristle when playing young means you're, uh, "goofy"). However, he was terrific in House of Flying Daggers. No Tony Leung, mind you, but making big steps.
mikevan9
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby A » Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:11 pm

I watched it recently for the first time, and while I liked it much, I don't think it's that great a film. Rated it *** / ****
and Kar-Wai has definitely done better than that.
The four films I've seen from him I would list as follows.
1. Fallen Angels (Waaay the best).
2. Days of being wild
3. Chungking Express
4. As Tears go by (Has some minor problems)
A
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby mikevan9 » Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:34 pm

I'd have to find old posts, probably long gone, to jog my memory, but what was the verdict on 2046 in these parts? Saw it recently, and I know the main criticism is that it's confusing, but that didn't bother me much. I wouldn't expect anything else from Wong Kar-Wai, and thought Lueng's longing was effective.
mikevan9
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:43 pm

For me 2046 was a culmination of all the films from WKW since Days of Being Wild, it's a visual orgasm after the foreplay of In the Mood for Love. I thought it was excellent and when it finished I wanted to see it again, my son who loves Chungking Express and really enjoyed In the Mood for Love hated it and swore he'd never watch it again.

Howard has reviewed 2046, hopefully he'll re-post it again.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Chungking Express (HK)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Wed Jun 08, 2005 6:59 pm

I've just reposted my review.
howardschumann(d)
 

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