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Chungking Express (1996) – Wong Kar-Wai

A melancholic film that is comfortable within its own set of rules, Chungking Express is silence suffused with expression. The film is soft in the way that it’s unrestricted. It is packed with dialogue that transcends normalcy and with colors that beget an eccentric reality.

The film materializes more than just a feeling. Hence, it stands as its own defense against the justification of that feeling. And so there’s no knowing what lingers within the surface of the film; at least not until the deep presence of each character’s realities is sought. And to do so takes much courage and empathy which isn’t well-suited for a light-hearted audience.

The film is ambiguous but with its own rare personality. It digs into everything from loneliness, loss, heartbreak, and expectation to what it means to earn a living and how one’s livelihood can never be one’s true reflection of self.

The structure of the film and its narration take up a poetic place. The cinematography pulls you in, from time to time, in an engaging and comfortable manner. Until finally, it drops you into its intricate elements so thoughtfully and sentimentally – it’s discovering life in its purest form.

If you pay attention, you will find that this film’s details contain its whole. The gestures, stillness, and generosity of the first story are portrayed alongside the second. But fate is such that they’ll never meet. Maybe this is what gives Wong Kar-Wai’s films a unique and nostalgic sense of wisdom. To watch it is to instill essence into the simple as much as the grand scheme of things. A gentle, corrective reminder that the proof of our existence is not in what happens to us, eventually, but what we do, as much in our thoughts as in our actions.