Wong Kar-wai jewels
Had a nth rewatch of Chungking Express last night. This time without the subtitles, since by now I know the story by heart, I can pretend to understand Takeshi Kaneshiro's bits of monologue in Mandarin. I guess that this time, I really made an effort to see all the inconsistencies that were so apparent from the fact that the movie was shot in about less than a month in the middle of shooting another movie (a wkw thing - see In The Mood For Love), like the chef pretending to cut an apple, people obviously not extras looking into the camera, and the *up* the mid-levels escalator to get to the airport ('cause, as far as I know, to get to the old Kai Tak airport from mid-levels, you take the MTR at Central or a taxi, but down the stairs). Chungking Express is by far the favourite of all wkw movies, b/c it is so feel-good and populated with delusional characters. The critics here mostly remember In The Mood For Love, and as far as I was concerned, it would seem that the foreign press just shrugged off 2046 (maybe it was because I wasn't "here" for the whole time 2046 was up and running).
And since I had so much time between ridding our stairs of its carpet (all the nails and staples...) and doing nothing at all, I also went for a re-watch of 2046 on Monday.
Smething I can't fully realize is that CE is alredy 10 years old (12 years old, if you take into account that it was shot in 1994). HK didn't change very much - eventually, I made the link between the mid-levels escalator and the old police station in Central, and pinpointed the location of agent 633's (663?) flat, which I think now houses a Pacific Coffee on the ground floor.
I was told by relatives that 2046 was partly shot in Causeway Bay, in a flat near Lee Gardens, where the minibuses stop. That's probably unverifiable; unlike in CE, nothing currently existing is shown in 2046. As I watch 2046, I also get it more as a well-grounded movie. From reviews, and previews, I was expecting some sort of very unreal film like Fallen Angels (cold-blooded shootings out of nothing in small sleazy HK eateries...), but that wasn't it at all. Except for Chow Mo-wan's realizations at the end that were open and obscure (as you would want to be, for sake of preciousness), it was a quite normal, err, succession of sexloverelationships, where all the restraint found in In The Mood For Love suddenly gets loose in a fiesta of colors.
It's also interesting how wkw managed his cut with Takuya Kimura having left the set midway through the century-long shooting. Having Tony Leung voiceover repeated shots of Faye+Takuya while pretending to be her Japanese boyfriend, clever! Could wkw even have not "planned", if there's such thing as artistic planning in wkw's work, the late Faye-Tony flirt?
A film review on The Hand.
(While I bought the DVD of Chungking Express in HK (at HMV, shame on me), it would seem to be the American release, which is slightly different from the VCD HK version - there are deleted scenes added back in the American version, notably a longer sequence in the drug-hiding operation at the beginning of the movie.)
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