Championed by Quentin Tarantino, released half-heartedly by Miramax, Chungking Express introduced most of us to our new favorite auteur. Made during a break from the notoriously prolonged Ashes of Time, Wong knocked off this "lark," two consecutive stories of love-smitten cops (#223 & #663) and the women they lose and the women they almost connect with.
In the first episode, #223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) hopes to reunite with the his departed May and, as a tribute to their relationship's end, he collects cans of pineapple (her favorite fruit) that will expire on May 1. That day will be the month anniversary of her leaving him as well as his last day of his being 24. He collects, he waits, he jogs incessantly to keep from crying. He meets Brigitte Lin's smuggler, betrayed during a transport, possibly living on marked time.
In episode 2, cop #663 (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) is left by his stewardess girlfriend and he pines for her
morosely. The girl at the Midnight Express lunch stand, the location that links the two episodes, grows interested and slowly implicates herself into his life. It helps that she has a set of keys to his apartment that she stealthily cleans.
Wong's lightest film, to Hong Kong what Breathless is to Paris, Chungking Express presents some of Wong's motifs -- deadlines, significant seconds, love sickness -- in the form of an intoxicating and
offbeat comedy about melancholy.
Writer and Director: Wong Kar-wai (1994 103 min.)
Cinematographer: Christopher Doyle
Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Faye Wong, Valerie Chow