Chungking Express (重慶森林) (1994)

Wong Kar-wai was always a bit of a maverick film maker, as expressed by the actors and crew who worked with him. He mostly shot without a script, and would take breaks from film making to work on his ideas. While filming Ashes of Time, which WKW has described as a painful process, he took a 2 month break and began to film Chungking Express, bringing along Brigitte Lin and Tony Leung. For WKW, it was a return to his root as a film maker, exploring the endless possibilities with the medium. 6 weeks later, it was complete.

Chungking Express has ended up being one of the earlier Wong Kar-wai film that grew in popularity, and stands among his definitive works. Like his other films, the film has no real plot, no tangible beginning or end. It's a gathering of moments that are both whimsical and evocative. Takeshi Kaneshiro gorging himself on expired pineapples, Faye Wong dancing to California Dreaming, Tony Leung speaking to inanimate objects. These inconsequential moments don't define the characters, but they add so much charm and vibrancy to an otherwise fleeting scene.

Less is more, perhaps the same can be said about this film. Nothing much really happens, nothing that really matters anyway. Our lives are a collection of chance meetings and fleeting encounters; of random superficial moments that make an impact on us, or get drowned in our own sorrowful memory. Whatever happened yesterday, today, or is going to happen is beyond our control. We just learn to flow with it. There seems to be an expiry date for the relationships in our lives, and it's just part of the journey. The next one will come along.


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