If you weave your way through director Wong Kar-wai’s stunning oeuvre, you’ll find that his films are wont to be populated with wistful, forsaken characters plagued by their own specific existential romantic yearning. Whether it’s his early films like Happy Together and Fallen Angels, or his classic duo In the Mood for Love and 2046, the trail of tears and emotions of his work occupy the same internal space, residing in the warmest corners of your heart, filling you with an inevitable sense of sorrrow but also an ineffable joy and pleasure in the arduous nature of love.
And one of his most acclaimed films, 1994’s Chungking Express is a dizzyingly beautiful picture, packed with incredibly well-shot moments—thanks in large part to cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s phenomenal eye. The film’s colorful world swirls around the screen like a melting impressionist painting, illuminated by the The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” the Mama’s and the Papa’s “California Dreamin,” and the rest of it’s perfectly curated soundtrack. The camera waltzes about its characters, always in motion to tell the story a lovestruck tale that proves desire doesn’t always have an expiration date.
Roger Ebert wrote about his experience watching the kinetic and enchanting film back in 1996, saying:
At UCLA last summer, Quentin Tarantino introduced a screening of “Chungking Express” and confessed that while watching it on video, “I just started crying.” He cried not because the movie was sad, he said, but because “I’m just so happy to love a movie this much.” I didn’t have to take out my handkerchief a single time during the film, and I didn’t love it nearly as much as he did, but I know what he meant: This is the kind of movie you’ll relate to if you love film itself, rather than its surface aspects such as story and stars. It’s not a movie for casual audiences, and it may not reveal all its secrets the first time through, but it announces Wong Kar-Wai, its Hong Kong-based director, as a filmmaker in the tradition of Jean-Luc Godard.
And it’s true, no one loves this movie more than Quentin Tarantino. And if you haven’t seen him geek out about it, you’re going to need to. In the clip below he introduces the film, expressing his love for Wong Kar-wai’s previous work, before going in depth about the female characters in Chungking and about the infectious nature of cinema and how loving movies is enough to be able to make a good movie yourself.
So check out Tarantino gushing about Chungking Express below and let’s take a walk through the film’s wonderful soundtrack because lifeis short and “a person may like pineapple today and something else tomorrow.”