On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Film Contemporary Global Cinema Series Sponsored by the School of Arts & Sciences presented the 1994 Hong Kong film “Chungking Express” at Walker Auditorium.
Professor Charles Andrews hosted the lecture to give a brief film introduction and question-and-answer session before and after the film showing.
Shot in two months, “Chungking Express” was created when its director and scriptwriter Wong Kar-Wai tried to clear his artist’s block status while filming another film.
People never expect that it would turn out to be one of the most romantic and renowned films in Hong Kong’s movie history.
The movie described two independent, but somehow related stories. Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung played the roles of two handsome police officers who had been jilted by their girlfriends, which led them stuck in a state of lovesickness. The common takeout restaurant they both hung out at connected their storylines.
The first story took place mostly in the Chungking Mansions. Cop 223 (Kaneshiro) encountered a mysterious woman, acted by Brigitte Lin, and was attracted by her quickly.
At the same time, cop 663 (Leung) met a manic pixie girl, acted by Faye Wong, who works at the snack bar of Midnight Express.
The song “California Dreamin” by The Mamas and the Papas’ played constantly as Faye’s favorite theme song which matched the California elements in the story plot.
Also, as a famous singer, Faye’s Cantonese version of “Dreams” originally by The Cranberries shows her oneiric, light singing.
Like other Wong Kar-Wai films, he has established his unique filming style in “Chungking Express.” It reveals a cryptic tone in the love-structured film.
However, the film is not just about romance. It also includes illegal smuggling and some gunshot scenes. It demonstrates the city rhythm of Hong Kong: the multiracial society, narrow, crowded living surroundings and the sweaty semi-tropical climate.
As Professor Andrews stated, “For me…[“Chungking Express” is] about Hong Kong, in a way. It’s all set about geometrical range. As an outsider, it gives us a feeling of the energy [of the city] and closeness of the people.”
Since it was filmed three years before its sovereignty returning to the Mainland China from Britain, it involved a nostalgic and thankful emotion in the film ambiance. “[It can be said that the movie is] like the love letter to the city,” said Andrews.
It is incredible that outside of the plot and acting, movies reveal so much information about the local culture and historical background. It is like a featuring a portrait that represents the social custom of an area.

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