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Chungking Express (1994)
"Chung Hing sam lam" (original title)

 -  Drama | Mystery | Romance  -  8 March 1996 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 33,529 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 152 user | 104 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Woman in blonde wig (as Ching-hsia Lin)
...
Faye Wong ...
...
...
Air Hostess
Chen Jinquan ...
Lee-Na Kwan ...
Richard (as Guan Lina)
Zhiming Huang ...
Man
Liang Zhen ...
The 2nd May
Songshen Zuo ...
Man
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Storyline

Wong Kar-Wai's movie about two love-struck cops is filmed in impressionistic splashes of motion and color. The first half deals with Cop 223, who has broken up with his girlfriend of five years. He purchases a tin of pineapples with an expiration date of May 1 each day for a month. By the end of that time, he feels that he will either be rejoined with his love or that it too will have expired forever. The second half shows Cop 663 dealing with his breakup with his flight attendant girlfriend. He talks to his apartment furnishings until he meets a new girl at a local lunch counter. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If my memory of her has an expiration date, let it be 10,000 years...

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, sexuality and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

8 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chungking Express  »

Box Office

Gross:

SGD 167,000 (Singapore)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(international)

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A third segment was written but Kar Wai Wong felt that the film was complete without it. The third story formed the basis of Fallen Angels (1995). See more »

Goofs

The woman in the blonde wig had no apparent opportunity to get the beeper number except from Cop 223 himself the night before, and he wouldn't have started to abandon his beeper as useless if he had just given someone new the number. See more »

Quotes

[Faye is confronted by her boss]
Faye: I'm not daydreaming.
Manager of 'Midnight Express: Right. You're not daydreaming. You're sleepwalking.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Truth About Jane and Sam (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

California Dreamin'
Written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips
Performed by The Mamas and the Papas
See more »

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User Reviews

Express Chungking Express
13 April 2001 | by (Ithaca, NY) – See all my reviews

Every day we interact with people. Within the course of 24 hours we can influence someone's life (for better or worse) so deeply that they will never forget us. Is it possible that the next person you fall in love with could be a notorious heroin smuggler or the counter girl at the express luncheonette counter? Wong Kar-Wai, the writer/director of Chungking Express seems to think so. The film is broken into two tales. The first story is mainly about the sadder side of love. Love comes and brings us light and joy, but it also goes and leaves us feeling empty and needing fulfillment. The two main characters in this half of the film, a police officer played dolefully by Takeshi Kaneshiro, and a heroin smuggler played icily by Bridgitte Lin, interact for only ten percent of the story, but their meeting leaves them both with memories that will last life time. The story ends on a high note that shows us that a simple act of kindness can bring the most unreceptive people to appreciate the beauty hidden in life. The second (and far stronger) story centers around two people and their interaction at a fast food counter in the Kwaloon section of Hong Kong. Tony Leung plays the part of a rejected lover perfectly and gives of the air of being sad without ever really being pathetic. Faye Wang's quirky portrayal of the free-spirited counter girl who helps Leung forget about his ex-girlfriend, is exactly what the film needed to counter-balance its darker first half. These characters and their bizarre relationship illustrates that love can manifest itself in any number of ways, many of them unconventional. The mechanism that allows these seemingly disjointed stories together is the camera work. Wong Kar-Wai uses a decidedly unique filming technique for much of the first half of the film; a blurry hand-held technique (think Blaire Witch on drugs) used during the chase scenes. The recurring style in the second half is a time-lapse type shot with people around the main subjects moving very fast and the subjects themselves moving in slow motion (a really cool effect). The camera styles add a common surreal element to each of the stories, while still keeping them somewhat independent. Perhaps the most striking element of the film is the interconnectedness of the characters and situations. There are many establishing shots showing characters inhabiting the same places at different times, and even the same places at the same times without noticing each other. This style of filming can alter the viewer's perception of reality, daring us to believe that we are all extras in somebody else's movie.


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