Saturday, May 15, 2004

Chungking Express

I finally saw Wong Kar Wai's 1994 masterpiece "Chungking Express" today. The movie's Chinese name actually means Chungking (the city) Forest. I don't know why it was translated into Chungking Exress, other than the fact that most of the story takes place at a restaurant.

Anyways, I loved the movie. It really reminded me of "Amelie" because it has a weird, disjointed plot and seems to be set in a fantasy land inhabited only by quirky people. All the main characters are suffering from love starvation, which causes some of them to talk to inanimate objects like soap and towels. One of the characters actually talks to his huge stuffed animal, which made me miss Pooh Bear.

The plot is really simple: two guys both get dumped by their girlfriends. One is desperate to find any girl to replace his ex while the other still can't get over his. The movie showcases perfectly how love can drive people crazy: After finding out his ex is breaking up with him for good, guy #1 tries to reconnect with several old acquintances, including someone who he hasn't seen since 4th grade. Then there is the girl whose obsession with the object of her desire borders on psychotic, to the extent that she would break into his apartment and redecorate everything. On the other hand, I found something to like about every character, however abnormal or obsessive their behavior may be.

There were times during the movie that I got really confused because one of the narrators speaks Mandarin while his character speaks Cantonese. Since I can understand Mandarin but not Cantonese, I had trouble switching between listening to Mandarin and reading the English subtitles. A funny thing about the movie is its use of "Dreams" by The Cranberries, except sang in Cantonese!

Rent this movie on DVD. It's awesome.