Chungking Express

LetterboxD review link

Wong Kar-Wai’s Hong Kong may be my favorite proverbial example of a modern city. I love living in New York. I love cities like Chicago and LA. But there’s something about how Wong Kar-Wai depicts Hong Kong, both in present day and in the future, that brings all the urban, frenetic, shoulder-rubbing, smelly, smoky, movement-is-the-only-constant-in-life feeling of city life to the screen. I become re-energized about living in a city like New York as a young man every time I see his films.

Chungking Express, in turn, gave me this same sense of satisfaction about not only city-living but also about loving films. The film’s attention to music, to framing, lighting, mood and characters was wonderful. It’s not as perfectly wound a film as In the Mood For Love or as heady as 2046, but what it lacks in plot and story, it makes up in energy and romanticism. Faye Wong, a perfectly rendered manic pixie dream girl, is no less lovable for missing a few screws. Tony Leung, a bumbling cop never doing any police work, is no less relatable for being lost. Wong Kar-Wai is ultimately a director who pulls from the depths of his feelings and passions as often as he pulls from his technical knowledge of films or film-making. And we’re all better off for him doing so.