Title: Chungking Express
Release Date: 14 July 1994
Director: Wong Kar-wai
Production Company: Jet Tone Production
I really had no preconceptions of this movie but it was still not what I expected. I guess I thought there would be more trains? Instead this is a wonderfully weird movie, and I’m not sure I quite understood, but nevertheless I really enjoyed the vibe. In some ways it reminds me of Amélie (and I would no be surprised if it influenced that later movie), but mostly it is its weird, wonderful thing.
Chungking Express is actually two short films that are tangentially related. Both of them feature Hong Kong cops as protagonists although we don’t see either of them doing much policing. In the first story, He Qiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) pines – or pineapples – over a woman who broke up with him. He’s then briefly brought into the world of a mysterious underworld figure (Brigitte Lin) who remains effortlessly cool despite wearing a ridiculously large blonde wig, sunglasses, and a raincoat at all times. In the other story, a snack bar employee named Faye (Faye Wong) falls for her customer, Cop 663 (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), who is also bereft after a break up with a flight attendant (Valerie Chow). She begins to influence his life in bizarre ways.
That’s all the plot summary I’m going to give, because there are some interesting twists I don’t want to spoil. Nevertheless, this movie feels more like a mood than a narrative. The cinematography is interesting as well, sometimes feeling like it’s painted in watercolors. There are a lot of shots through windows, mirrors, curtains, etc, that make everything feel dreamlike. This is definitely a movie worth revisiting.