California Dreamin
October 19, 2013 1:22 AM   Subscribe

 
Such a great film. The more Tony Leung, the better.

At least 1+1 users will appreciate this post.
posted by ersatz at 3:17 AM on October 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of my all time favorites.
Tarantino endorsed this movie by describing the sheer joy he felt while he was watching it - a joy I've shared. I've been hunting that feeling ever since, and although there's been quite a few movies that kept me invested (a lot), it's never again been on a Chungking Express-level of high.
posted by bigendian at 3:49 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Christopher Doyle has a screw loose in the most inspiring way.

Chungking has become my go to movie any time I feel the depression creeping in, it's energetic enough to force me out of whatever rut I'm in.
posted by edeezy at 4:09 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Always present in my top five and I completely agree with all comments relating to joyousness and inspirational force.

You folks have seen Fallen Angels? It's a sort of night-time minus world counterpart to CKE and very great but also has a bit less of the something that makes CKE so special.
posted by timshel at 5:16 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]




This is one of the best films ever made. I can't think of very many other films where I could derive such satisfaction from reading such a detailed and loving critique. I need to re-rewatch it.

And timshel, I do love Fallen Angels. I don't think it quite reaches the heights of Chungking, but it is remarkable in its own right.
posted by 256 at 6:07 AM on October 19, 2013


Re-acquiring as this is written. It's been too long.
posted by flippant at 6:18 AM on October 19, 2013


Tarantino on Chungking Express
posted by 256 at 6:28 AM on October 19, 2013


I vastly prefer Faye Wong's cover of "Dreams" to the original. This film introduced me -- thank you, Quentin Tarantino, I must admit -- to Wong Kar Wai, Faye Wong and cantopop, all of which I still enjoy.
posted by Gelatin at 6:50 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Between Chungking Express and Morvern Callar, I became a life-long Mamas and Papas fan, and sometimes put together a playlist of dreamy rock-and-roll made before I was born move around in slow motion, making tea against the beat or finding a place on the floor in the sun to lie in and stretch.

Other Wong Kar Wai I'd recommend:

Fallen Angels
Days of Being Wild
Happy Together

Which are all on netflix instant (possibly elsewhere too).

But if you only take away two things from this thread (the first being to watch Chungking Express) the second should be that you need to see In the Mood for Love which (while CE holds a special place in my heart) is a masterpiece and just about as good as cinema gets, IMO.
posted by Flaffigan at 6:55 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


(2046, the very strange and not as even but genuinely fascinating follow up to ItMfL is also worth seeing. I'd say In the Mood is the better film, but 2046 is the more interesting film. It's kind of brutally sad, though, so be ready for post-credits [you will watch the mesmerizing credits sequence] depression.)

((I love Wong kar Wai.))
posted by byanyothername at 7:44 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


My first WKW film, and second favorite after ITMFL. This thread reminded me to look at some old WKW calendars that several of us fans at wongkarwai.net made. My CE-themed calendars for May 2006, August 2008, July 2009. The May 2006 one was fun to work on. Never finished all the pineapples. Archive of all calendars.
posted by shortfuse at 7:57 AM on October 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


My first WKW film as well. I found out about it via Faye Wong, who I loved/love. It's such an enjoyable film to watch. I think, now, that Days of Being Wild is the best thing he's done, but this film is retry fantastic. (And very different.)
posted by chunking express at 10:18 AM on October 19, 2013


And yeah, that slo-mo scene of Tony Leung drinking coffee is fantastic.

Fallen Angela has some similar moments, but they aren't quite as awesome. (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Karren Mok in that tea shop comes to mind.)
posted by chunking express at 10:21 AM on October 19, 2013


I think this film is so standout because unlike all his other films it really isn't that sad. Both stories end more or less on a high note. I don't think that happens in anything else he has done.
posted by chunking express at 10:27 AM on October 19, 2013


I've only seen In the Mood for Love, and it's one of my all-time favorites, but it really sounds like I need to branch out a little.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:30 AM on October 19, 2013


(Takeshi Kaneshiro and Karren Mok in that tea shop comes to mind.)

What I love most about Fallen Angels is its humour. The scene where Leon runs into the old classmate on a bus after shooting everyone and shows the picture of his fake family! A mute who breaks into shops and, through hilarious coercion, makes people pay to not be his customer! The Charlie character!
posted by timshel at 11:52 AM on October 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


(also how quickly and effectively the mute character goes from being purely funny to quite sympathetic and affecting)
posted by timshel at 11:59 AM on October 19, 2013


This is one of my favorite movies. The first time I saw it, it really opened my eyes to what movies can do.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:12 PM on October 19, 2013


That face that Tony Leung's character makes when Faye comes back to the restaurant a year later just blows me away every time. What a perfect movie.
posted by invitapriore at 12:15 PM on October 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Christopher Doyle has done a really great job of mythologizing himself but the real secret to Wong Kar Wai's style is William Chang who has worked as costume designer, production designer, and editor on all of his films.

Doyle likes to position himself as the anti-Hollywood rock and roll artist, but he left In the Mood for Love to work on this?
posted by lowest east side at 1:24 PM on October 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just got this from the library this month, but no matter what I did the disc wouldn't play, so I returned it with a note. I guess I'd better move it up in my queue.
posted by dhartung at 3:33 PM on October 19, 2013


late addition bonus: Buenos Aires Zero Degree, a making-of for Happy Together.
posted by juv3nal at 6:43 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh yes. I love love love Chungking Express. And Fallen Angels. Greatest movies of all time in my book. I never get tired of re-watching them.

Anyone seen "The Grandmaster"? I did, I thought it was OK, but it didn't really hit the WKW spot for me like his old movies... I mean there was the voice overs and some musty Hong Kong streets at night time, but it was almost...too structured for me? I liked the other martials-arts themed movie he did better, "Ashes of Time"...
posted by pravit at 7:16 PM on October 19, 2013


Pravit, what version did you see? According to the article there's the HK / China version, European version, and American one. I saw the HK / China one and that one was a bit less structured I think. There were long digressions into characters that seemed to be completely removed from the Ip Man plot, and apparently they decided to streamline that story branch in the European and American versions.

I thought the movie was pretty disjointed in the version that I saw, not as hard to follow as Ashes of Time though. While I can see cutting out the character of The Razor since he seemed so incidental to everything else that was going on, that does cut out a couple of really cool and well-choreographed scenes so I'm not sure which version I'd think was best.
posted by C^3 at 10:07 PM on October 19, 2013


Speaking of The Grandmaster (which I haven't seen yet), I've internetted enough to be of the firm opinion that WKW and crew have a lock on the best opposed-combatants-make-googly-eyes-at-one-another-in-the-heat-of-battle shot of all time. I mean holy shit. Talk about "At the closest point, we're just 0.01 cm apart from each other."

Also I've been binging some WKW recently and it just now occurs to me that Takeshi Kaneshiro's narration at the beginning of Chungking bookends perfectly with his narration at the end of Fallen Angels. It's pretty remarkable.
posted by juv3nal at 10:34 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also I've been binging some WKW recently and it just now occurs to me that Takeshi Kaneshiro's narration at the beginning of Chungking bookends perfectly with his narration at the end of Fallen Angels. It's pretty remarkable.

Elaborate?
posted by timshel at 1:14 AM on October 20, 2013


Elaborate?

I don't know Mandarin, but I suspect the lines may be identical even though the subs are different. Even if not, they're too similar to not attach some significance to them:
The beginning of Chungking
"Everyday we brush past so many people. People we may never meet or people who may become close friends."
The end of Fallen Angels
"You rub elbows with a lot of people every day. Some strangers might become your friends or even confidants."
posted by juv3nal at 2:18 AM on October 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


AFAIK there are 4 known versions of The Grandmaster:
240m (Rough version, possibly a future "Director's Cut" release)
130m (China / HK version)
123m? 115m? (Berlin fest / "international" version)
108m (US version)

I've seen the China / HK version and the US version, and both contain footage not in the other. I preferred the China / HK version slightly. The US version does have some short-but-sweet Razor scenes that C^3 mentioned, but also an awful coda.
posted by shortfuse at 5:50 AM on October 20, 2013


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