Wong Kar-Wai's movie about two love-struck cops is filmed in impressionistic splashes of motion and color. The first half deals with Cop 223, who has broken up with his girlfriend of five years. He purchases a tin of pineapples with an expiration date of May 1 each day for a month. By the end of that time, he feels that he will either be rejoined with his love or that it too will have expired forever. The second half shows Cop 663 dealing with his breakup with his flight attendant girlfriend. He talks to his apartment furnishings until he meets a new girl at a local lunch counter.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Ranked number 56 non-English-speaking film in the critics' poll conducted by the BBC in 2018. See more »
The woman in the blonde wig had no apparent opportunity to get the beeper number except from Cop 223 himself the night before, and he wouldn't have started to abandon his beeper as useless if he had just given someone new the number. See more »
He Zhiwu, Cop 223:
At the high point of our intimacy, we were just 0.01cm from each other. I knew nothing about her. Six hours later, she fell in love with another man.
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The original Hong Kong release ran 98 minutes. 'Kar Wai Wong' made several changes to the international version, bringing the running time to 102 minutes:
The international version expands the scenes where The Blonde prepares for the smuggling trip and later searches for the smugglers.
Indian music plays during the smugglers' arrival at the airport in international prints; in the Hong Kong version, the title theme plays.
The international version includes the kidnapping of an Indian girl, which does not occur in the Hong Kong version.
The sequence with Zhiwu loitering outside his girlfriend's window appears earlier in international edit.
In the Hong Kong version, the Faye Wong cover of "Dreams" plays over the shot of 663 drinking coffee. The international version strips out the music (leaving only ambient noise), although "Dreams" still appears at the end of the film. The international cut is Wong's preferred version and has been used for most home video releases. The Hong Kong cut was released on VHS/laserdisc by World Video and on VHS/LD/DVD by Mei Ah.
Every day we interact with people. Within the course of 24 hours we can influence someone's life (for better or worse) so deeply that they will never forget us. Is it possible that the next person you fall in love with could be a notorious heroin smuggler or the counter girl at the express luncheonette counter? Wong Kar-Wai, the writer/director of Chungking Express seems to think so. The film is broken into two tales. The first story is mainly about the sadder side of love. Love comes and brings us light and joy, but it also goes and leaves us feeling empty and needing fulfillment. The two main characters in this half of the film, a police officer played dolefully by Takeshi Kaneshiro, and a heroin smuggler played icily by Bridgitte Lin, interact for only ten percent of the story, but their meeting leaves them both with memories that will last life time. The story ends on a high note that shows us that a simple act of kindness can bring the most unreceptive people to appreciate the beauty hidden in life. The second (and far stronger) story centers around two people and their interaction at a fast food counter in the Kwaloon section of Hong Kong. Tony Leung plays the part of a rejected lover perfectly and gives of the air of being sad without ever really being pathetic. Faye Wang's quirky portrayal of the free-spirited counter girl who helps Leung forget about his ex-girlfriend, is exactly what the film needed to counter-balance its darker first half. These characters and their bizarre relationship illustrates that love can manifest itself in any number of ways, many of them unconventional. The mechanism that allows these seemingly disjointed stories together is the camera work. Wong Kar-Wai uses a decidedly unique filming technique for much of the first half of the film; a blurry hand-held technique (think Blaire Witch on drugs) used during the chase scenes. The recurring style in the second half is a time-lapse type shot with people around the main subjects moving very fast and the subjects themselves moving in slow motion (a really cool effect). The camera styles add a common surreal element to each of the stories, while still keeping them somewhat independent. Perhaps the most striking element of the film is the interconnectedness of the characters and situations. There are many establishing shots showing characters inhabiting the same places at different times, and even the same places at the same times without noticing each other. This style of filming can alter the viewer's perception of reality, daring us to believe that we are all extras in somebody else's movie.
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