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Hong Kong 1994
Directed by
Wong Kar-wai
102 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Chungking Express

Chungking Express was made as a side project during a two month break from the editing of Wong’s wuxia film, Ashes Of Time, also released the same year, but became a much more successful film, winning a host of  international awards.

It consists of two separate stories (there was a  third segment, about a love-sick hitman, that became a completely different film, Fallen Angels, 1995) each about a Hong Kong cop and his relationship with a woman, the first story with Takeshi Kaneshiro and Brigitte Lin, the second with Tony Leung and Cantonese pop diva, Faye Wong.

Distinguished by the mercurial intelligence of its script and Chris Doyle’s marvellous photography it is a film that is rich with visual and narrative wit although it also one that will frustrate anyone expecting an easily digestible story. The first half is the more elliptical and is set in Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui, an area famous for its polyglot population and in which Wong grew up. The second, more conventional half of the film was shot near a popular fast food shop called Midnight Express, the two components thus giving the film its name. With a striking soundtrack and gorgeous visuals this is a film to enjoy for its stylistic panache rather than its content.




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