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Chungking Express: Absolutely unparalleled

<i>Chungking Express</i>: Absolutely unparalleled

Chungking Express is a great way to introduce yourself to Wong Kar Wai's work.

I've probably said this about a dozen times and I'm happy to say it again -- one of my favourite filmmakers ever is the Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai whose visual style of storytelling is absolutely unparalleled in my opinion.

The film I want to recommend today is Wong Kar Wai's 1994 film Chungking Express which is regarded by many as one of his best films after In The Mood For Love.

Now Chungking Express set in Hong Kong, is a film about two loosely interlinked stories, both about lovelorn cops who get involved with women who are completely wrong for them.

The first story is about a superstitious policeman who bumps into and becomes enamoured by a woman with a big blonde wig, bright red lips and sunglasses.

That woman, incidentally, is a drug smuggler who's spent the most part of the night looking for drug consignments that have gone missing.

The second story is about another cop who frequents a fast-food joint in Hong Kong, where an attractive waitress develops a crush on him. He barely notices her, but she manages to get the keys to his apartment, she moves in when he isn't there, and she pretty much takes over the place, cleaning it and redecorating it herself.

Now the common themes in both stories are those of loneliness and disconnection, and what strikes you immediately about the film is the manner in which Wong Kar Wai has shot it.

It's stylish and pacy and it has a restless feel to it, much like an MTV music video. Now if you've seen Wong Kar Wai's In The Mood For Love, you'll notice that film too has been shot quite distinctively -- that one's poetic and painstaking. And honestly, that's really Wong Kar Wai's biggest strength, the visual flourish, the distinct look and imagery he invests into every film of his.

If you're unfamiliar with the films of Wong Kar Wai, then rent Chungking Express on DVD, it's a great way to introduce yourself to the master's work. I'm confident, you'll be hooked from that moment on.

first published:June 22, 2007, 23:05 IST