Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chungking Express

Prior to viewing Chungking Express I had only viewed three of Wong Kar-Wai's films. The first film I saw was 2046. I was smitten by the colors, music, and beauty of the film. Later, I learned it was a "loose sequel" to Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love. I rushed to see In the Mood for Love in hopes of finding answers. And, to see more of the director's style. What I got was an incredible, moving experience. In the Mood for Love remains one of my favorite films. A soundtrack and story to haunt the viewer.

My third experience with the director was 2007's Blueberry Nights. The film was Kar-Wai's first English language feature. Also, the film marked the acting debut of Norah Jones. Needless to say, after 20 minutes with the film I decided the film was not for me. I will one day revisit the film. But, that day is far from here.

Chungking Express consists of two separate (but equal?) stories. Both stories center around a cop. Both stories deal with the loss of love. Both stories deal with an attempt to find love. The locations of the stories and people from the stories all maintain background appearances throughout the film. So, why create two separate stories in a single film?

The first story focuses on Cop 223. His character is the younger of the two cops. The second story focuses on Cop 663. This character is the older, more mature character. Are we to view these as two separate men? Or, are we dealing with the complexity of human nature? The duality in each of us.

The first story focuses on a woman in dark glasses and a blonde wig. Her identity never revealed. But, she appears older. The second story focuses on Faye. A young woman with short, revealing hair. Faye is outgoing and quirky. Once again, the duality of a single identity. Two extremes.

The first story if pretty basic noir romance. Simple and interesting enough. Luckily, this is the shortest of the two stories as it doesn't feel complete. The second story is witty, clever, and too much fun. There are scenes in the film where Faye will just make you smile. Her character is so playful and innocent. There is a beauty and peacefulness in her character.

There is much to say and dissect about the film. But, there is much to give away, too. So, I am leaving the review brief. But, promise an uplifting time.


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