This will probably be the last update of the week, and hopefully the last WKW post for a little while.
I decided that it was only right that since I was talking about WKW I would talk about Chungking Express, if for no other reason than the fact that it’s my absolute favorite movie. That said, you should know right up front that everything I’m gonna say here should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Not because I’m lying, but because I love the film so much that my vision is clouded, and things I really love probably aren’t gonna have as much impact for you as they did for me. Well who knows, maybe it will be the same for you. That’s the whole point of this blog for now anyway, to talk about flicks that I really like, and hopefully give you guys some suggestions or some interesting thoughts.
Fun fact: This film was made in two months. That’s from the writing phase through completion of post production. It was shot guerilla style on the streets of Hong Kong and made as something to clear WKW’s mind while he was editing another film of his, Ashes of Time.
I think there’s something to be said about working extremely quickly on a project like this. When you’re just going like this, you get a product that feels much more raw and real as opposed to cleaned up and perfect as most of his other films are. There’s a grittiness and energy that’s supplied. In fact that’s kind of the prime difference between HK and American cinema. Because we have such long labored processes, with every action having to be okayed by 15 other people, we get something that feels very polished, which is a good thing. But sometimes, that energy that’s provided from say the HK way of working gives off a feeling that cannot quite be explained, but it’s a rush. I guess that’s one of the first pure joys I get from watching this movie.
Now this movie is sometimes cited as having a weak story, being a film made for lovers of film as opposed to general people. I disagree. Again, back to my basic message of the week, we need to allow ourselves to truly experience films. To see it as something pure, and not bring with us all that baggage that weighs us down. The story of Chungking Express can be seen as way too quirky and ham strung(particularly the second story), but I don’t see it like that. I find it a very pure expression of love, well the second story anyway. Full disclosure, I like the second half of the movie a lot more than the first, although I dig the first a lot as well.
Did I not mention that? Yeah the movie is two stories. Both share similar themes and both involve policemen, but aside from a bit in the middle where the characters cross paths, they’re unrelated. What I love though is that you don’t feel short changed on either story. There’s never a point when you wish something had been fleshed out more, much like the stories in Pulp Fiction.
Side Note: I’ve noticed a trend in my pieces every night where I spend a lot of detail talking about everything except the film. And I guess that’s not particularly fair, but this blog is my thoughts on films, and really the sort of back stories and different tangents that I go off on are things that come up because they’re thoughts that the certain film I’m “discussing” bring up. So I guess that’s my half assed explanation for not spending more time talking about the actual movie, but I did say from the beginning that I wasn’t doing reviews.
Side Note for the Side Note: I'm aware I defined what my blog was twice with this post.
And we’re back in
When I was watching some of this flick with my parents, who pretty much exclusively watch HK flicks but do not get WKW at all, I noticed something. They would point out every time he did something kind of different with a camera, and I’m using kind of in the absolute lightest sense. I remember a point where the character is talking about canned food, and the camera cuts to various close ups of the cans, and my mom pointed that out as weird and only something WKW would do. Now to me, what was done there was just common fucking sense, but it did point out to me just how flat and boring movies and editing can be. And it’s from that technical and visual perspective that results in many critics calling it a movie for movie lovers only. There are some moments in this film that show such immense beauty in the moving image that it’s mind boggling to think the film was made in two months. Particularly since WKW is now taking FUCKING YEARS to get The Grandmasters out there. Sorry.
It’s interesting to me that the first two directors I chose to talk about with this blog ended up being known as some of the most visually talented and beautiful directors working today. I guess that’s kind of where my mindset is right now. Anyway, I don’t really know how to close out tonight’s bit on Chungking Express simply because I really could never stop talking about it, if you’ve made it this far and want some sort of message or something to focus on from this post, make it this, I love this movie. It is my favorite movie of all time, and while that may not mean much to you, I would hope it means at least enough for you to check it out. If you do, tell me what you thought, I’m genuinely interested. Doesn’t matter if your opinions towards the film are positive or negative.
I may update this post in the next few days with some more precise thoughts on the flick
Next time we’ll probably start on another director, and based on the intense decline in readers this week, I’ll try to make it an American. =D