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Our minds find a home in repetitions, seek solace in symmetric patterns. The rhythm of known drowns us in comforts – caressing our edges, it numbs our resistance towards falling in the void. Wong Kar Wai leverages this behavior by seducing us into Chungking Express with tunes like California Dreamin’ (The Mamas and The Papas) and Dreams (The Cranberries) looping in the backdrop of a neon-lit atmosphere. Chungking Express has perfectly designed interplay of heady music and blurry motions, designed to near perfection, making us feel nostalgic for the moments even when we are watching them unfolding for the first time.




Given the narration of Chungking Express in the hands of an amateur would have resulted in a meaningless meandering of suburban Hong Kong. But Wong Kar Wai grapples with the ideas of longing and loneliness alongside drop-dead gorgeous visual extravaganza.

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The narrative is divided into two sections dealing with Men Without Women in their lives. The first half revolves around Cop 223 who has broken up on 1st April and unable to reconcile with his loss, considers it all a facade. The second and much-nuanced half consists of Cop 663 dealing with his recent breakup from a flight attendant while a waitress at his daily luncheon grows affection for him. These love stories contrasted against the maze of Hong Kong reflects the turmoil of each individual – pinpointing the pining of human touch and desperation for a connection in a city disconnected with its people.

Related to Chungking Express – WONG KAR-WAI’S LOVE TRILOGY




The cinematography is avant-garde as the scenes are lit up to their own vague sense of perfection. Faint shadows to ourselves can be found lying around the dusty closets or underneath messy tables – washing us over with tidal waves of being lovelorn. An array of scintillating aesthetic grenades to senses, Chungking Express is a pulpy memoir to hope. Rather than passion, it evokes a warm fuzzy feeling of being lost in a daydream of neon-lit alter world where melancholia is splashed in abundance. Chungking Express cemented the arrival of talent long before he went on to deliver In the Mood for Love.

Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes 

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