Chungking Express (1994)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Chung Hing Sam Lam

Hong Kong, 1994.  Jet Tone Production. Screenplay by Wong Kar Wai.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by , , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by William Chang.  Film Editing by William Chang, , .  Independent Spirit Awards 1996.  

Wong Kar-Wai deservedly burst forth onto the international art house scene with this exuberant urban romance, which he actually filmed during a break while making Ashes Of Time. It tells two stories, one of a hopelessly romantic cop () who is dumped by his girlfriend and instead falls for a stylish hit woman for a heroin smuggling ring (); the film then switches inexplicably to another officer (the great ) who catches the eye of a waitress () who becomes completely hooked on him. Wong avoids sticky sentimentality, instead focusing on the capriciously unexpected nature of interpersonal sparks, the film never going out of its way to comfortably help you follow a narrative through-line (“impressionistic” is the word often implied to its style). Instead, Wong follows an emotional trajectory that, coupled with Christopher Doyle’s passionately colourful cinematography, makes it a rich treat to behold.

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