Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai, 1994)

A blond woman wearing a trench coat and red-framed sunglasses swiftly enters the frame from the right. The accompanying music is as swift and suspenseful as she is.

CHUNGKING_03A hand held camera alters between following her and showing her viewpoint. It’s night time and images are blurry, barely showing any details.

CHUNGKING_04 CHUNGKING_06 CHUNGKING_07 CHUNGKING_09 CHUNGKING_10The woman seems to be looking for someone in what appears to be a market place mostly crowded by men.

CHUNGKING_12 CHUNGKING_15 CHUNGKING_17 CHUNGKING_18Over the images of the sky and chimneys at night time, a male voice starts telling his story: ‘We rub shoulders with each other every day. We may not know each other but we may become good friends some day.’ The owner of the voice is at the same market with the woman, chasing someone: ‘My name is He Qiwu. I’m a cop and 223 is my number’, he tells us.

CHUNGKING_19 CHUNGKING_25 CHUNGKING_32 CHUNGKING_33 CHUNGKING_34 CHUNGKING_36During his chase, he bumps into the blond woman. And as she turns around to look at him the image freezes, but the voice over continues: ‘At the closest point of our intimacy, we were just 0.01 cm from each other. Fifty seven hours later, I fell in love with this woman’.

CHUNGKING_39CHUNGKING_40 CHUNGKING_41 CHUNGKING_42 CHUNGKING_43

 

(It was 1994. Never did a character with a blond wig looked this cool. Never were colours or music used so boldly. Or we were young end excited. Or Wong Kar-wai was young and excited. Whatever the reason, Chungking Express is one of the films that refreshed my understanding of filmmaking back then.)

And here is a link to the full scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH38QAN80vs

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