Running Back To the Romance of ‘Chungking Express’ With Quentin Tarantino

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.”




The Best Films to Watch Without Ever Leaving Your Bed This Week: Essential Romantic Ache

Every Monday morning, I find myself whispering the old Beckett adage “I can’t go on, I’ll go on,” to myself as I settle down into work. No matter how thrilling the day’s prospects may be, it’s that midweek slump that always seems to rear its ugly head in the worst way. But never fear, the hours are sure to breeze on by and soon it will be the weekend—one that happens to be rife with fantastic films both premiering and screening around the city, thanks to new premieres and various wonderful retrospectives.

But in the meantime, what better way to spend an evening than curled up under the sheets enjoying the best of cinema—new modern masterpieces to enduring classics—from the comfort of your bed? And with myriad options to choose from on Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes, the nightly decision of what to show in your private bedroom screening can prove a challenge. So to make your time easier, I’ve rounded up some of the best films about amour fou available to stream, so peruse our list, get cozy, and enjoy.

Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on, 
give your body to it, give your laugh to it, 
give, when the gravelly sand takes you, 
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
– Anne Sexton,  Admonitions to a Special Person

Chungking Express (iTunes)

L’eclisse (Hulu)

 Love Story (Netflix)

The Night Porter (Hulu)

 The Piano Teacher (Netflix)

Jules and Jim (Hulu)

Reds (Netflix)

Manhattan (Netflix)

L’Avventura (Hulu)

 Say Anything (Netflix)

The Soft Skin (Hulu)

Punch-Drunk Love (Netflix)

The Last Metro (Hulu)

 Take This Waltz (Netflix)

My Man Godfrey (iTunes)

 Broadcast News (Netflix)

Summer with Monika (Hulu)

Nothing Sacred (Netflix)

Le Grand Amour (Hulu)

Before Midnight (iTunes)

 The Deep Blue Sea (Netflix)

Bad Timing (iTunes)

 I Married a Witch (Hulu)

I Am Love (Netflix)

Brief Encounter (iTunes)

Certified Copy (Netflix)

 Mala Noche (Hulu)

The Apartment (iTunes) 

Paris, Texas (Hulu)

In the Realm of the Senses (Hulu)

Enjoy ‘In the Mood for Doyle’ and Some of Cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s Best Scenes

Last week, wonderfully seasoned cinematographer Christopher Doyle spoke bluntly and honestly about his feelings towards Spielberg’s Lincoln, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, and the state of the Academy Awards. Known for having some straight forward and unflinching opinions of his own, Doyle spoke about Pi, saying, “I think it’s a fucking insult to cinematography… That’s not cinematography. That’s control of the image by the powers that be, by the people that want to control the whole system because they’re all accounts. You’ve lost cinema. This is not cinema and it’s not cinematography.” And after working in film for over 30 years and creating some of the most beautifully crafted scenes for everyone from Wong Kar-wai to Jim Jarmsusch he’s got all the right in the world to be vocal and we’re happy to listen. And to my delight, a 2007 dcoumentary titled In the Mood for Doyle has made its way online, giving more insight into Doyle’s cinematic mind. Have a look at the 54-minute doc below and enjoy some of Doyle’s most stunning scenes from Wong Kar-wai films.


In the Mood for Doyle


In the Mood for Love, Yumeji’s Theme

Chungking Express, Opening Scene



In the Mood for Love, Final Sequence

2046, Secret

In the Mood for Love

Happy Together, Transition

Days of Being Wild, Dancing

Chungking Express, Dreams


Happy Together, Dancing

As Tears Go By, Kissing

Go Behind the Scenes with Wong Kar-wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’

Known for his artfully shot films populated with lonesome characters enduring some form of existential romantic yearning, director Wong Kar-wai last graced us with the mildly-received My Blueberry Nights. But from the director who brought us Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, and 2046, it’s difficult not to be excited by any project he has his hands in. And with his first feature in six years, Kar-wai looks to be harkening back to his Ashes of Time sense of action with The Grandmaster. Starring Kar-wai film staple Tony Leung, the film tells the story of the famed martial arts master Ip Man who trained Bruce Lee. 

Last week, The Grandmaster had it’s Hong Kong and China premiere, opening to generally well-received reviews across the board. Variety stated:

Venturing into fresh creative terrain without relinquishing his familiar themes and stylistic flourishes, Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai exceeds expectations with "The Grandmaster," fashioning a 1930s action saga into a refined piece of commercial filmmaking. Boasting one of the most propulsive yet ethereal realizations of authentic martial arts onscreen, as well as a merging of physicality and philosophy not attained in Chinese cinema since King Hu’s masterpieces, the hotly anticipated pic is sure to win new converts from the genre camp.

Next month, the film will have a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, but in the meantime, Twitch has provided three new behind the scenes featurettes to build on the anticipation for the film. The clips include interviews with the cast and crew, a look at the location and sets of the film, as well as Leung’s training for the role.