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"Chungking Express", Wong Kar-Wai, 1994   09/01/03
Reviews

From: Lady M
Category: Films
Date: 09 January 2003

Review

Channel 4 always seem to show this film at some ungodly hour yet I have now watched it on TV at least three times. Maybe it is to cater for latent insomniacs, but it is a film that slowly sucks you in and you end up watching the whole thing. Nothing much happens really. Set in Hong Kong, two tales of loverlorn policemen, PC 663 and PC 633. The fact that we are given their cop numbers is of importance, as are the constant references to specific times and dates, as the film reflects how the seemingly mundane and unimportant details of the everyday shapes the indvidual amongst the frenetic anonymity of urban life. "We rub shoulders everyday, we may not know each other, but we could be friends one day" the film begins. The first tale of Cop 663 involves a drugs ring, a mysterious blonde haired woman and a shady Westerner - potential thriller elements but the narrative is not important. The second part of the flim is fairytale love story, think "Amelie" without the cloying sweetness. The human relationships between all the characters touch on universal themes of love and loss, chance and luck. What we perceive as viewers as real time is skilfully interwoven with imagined time as experienced by the characters, by flash frames of juddering photography and the rush of the city. The city has its own life, when PC 663 goes running he runs to get rid of his body fluids in a bid to rid his body of tears, the Hong Kong sky pouring with rain. Inanimate objects take on a life of their own, a drying rag drips tears and a bar of soap becomes thin and lovesick, reflecting the oriental belief that our suroundings are reflections of one's inner emotions. The separateness, the loneliness of living in a big city, the joy that the seemingly unimportant details bring to one's life, the passage of time, inconsequential events and daily routine, all day every day punctuated by the fact that someday all this will come to a close and then something new starts. Everything has an expiry date, muses Cop 663, even cling film. So does love, but you can always open a new tin.

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