Sunday, 1 June 2008

Chungking Express [1994]


Chungking Express is the most celebrated movie made by the master New Wave Hong Kong director Wong-Kar-Wai. The stylized, visceral, eccentric, and irresistible off-beat drama, laced with a pinching dose of black satirical humour, might just be the cinematic rendition of The Beatles’ legendary song Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Urban alienation, loneliness, and the wish to come to terms with them are explored by the hypnotic, super kinetic depiction of two separate stories of lovelorn cops and their chance to redeem themselves – with a mysterious femme fatale in the first, and a cute, estranged young lady in the second. The movie is presented in a blaze of blinding, garish neon lights (courtesy in large parts to the visually stunning cinematography of Christopher Doyle), and catchy pop track (Mammas and Pappas’ California Dreamin’ has been superbly used in the second story) which marvelously juxtapose the exuberance without and the hollowness within, thus managing to capture the fascinating character of the city of Hong Kong. In fact, the fascinating city of Hong Kong is almost a fifth character in this absolutely terrific piece of work, which, as a critic aptly stated, is a near perfect fusion of form and style. This movie also provided a great platform for the charisma and acting of Tony Leung.








Director: Wong Kar-Wai
Genre: Urban Drama/Existential Drama/Avant-Garde/Experimental
Language: Chinese (Cantonese/Mandarin)
Country: China (Hong Kong)

5 comments:

1minutefilmreview said...

This is probably WKW most upbeat film. We'll review it soon.

the Passive Anarchist said...

Waiting to read that...i'l soon post the review of fallen angels - the only other WKW movie i'v seen. Planning to watch Mood for Love soon...

1minutefilmreview said...

Great! Check out our other reviews on WKW films. And don't forget his latest redux version of 'Ashes of Time'.

Sthito said...

Altho' mysterious and the devilishly seducing beauty of the first femme fatale-ic story had a sudden open ending; the immature and wanton manners of the girl in the second part almost felt like a reborn alter-ego of the first, untarnished of the cold, harsh realities of the Hong Kong underground. With the staccato of brilliant colors in motion blur and sweet melodies of California dreamin, this movie is surely a cinephiles' dream watch!

Shubhajit said...

The song California Dreamin' was marvelously used, because dreaming (even if it ultimately results in broken hearts) forms an important motif for the movie. And the two distinct plot were masterfully juxtaposed with the overall theme of loneliness and heartbreak.