Wong Kar Wai and "expressive" cinema


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Josh Noble

I really enjoyed Chungking Express. Wong Kar-Wai's style of filmmaking has a depth that makes me want to go back and watch the film again to see what new information I can take away. His slow shudder speed shots were very unique and used sparingly as to not be annoying but still achieve the right effect. I also tend to like unconventional narratives so the episodic storyline was a good choice in my opinion.

Anna Markee

Directly after watching Chungking Express, I was thinking that I didn't really like it… I didn't really like it at first because I was confused about what had happened. There were some odd things about the movie, such as police officer 663 talking to objects in his house. however, after discussing the movie, I started to realize I liked it more. I can see how time and love were big parts of the film and how they were portrayed made the movie the way it was. I also found myself thinking about the movie later that night and the next day in a positive way. So I ended up enjoying Chungking Express, I thought it was good and unique.

Hope Sneddon

I feel the same as Anna described in her post. I thought after the film that I could appreciate it but certainly didn't enjoy it. However, I noticed that in small group discussion we had a lot to talk about. For example the slow shutter speed, the use of American brands and objects, the similarities between the two stories and more. Therefore I realized that this film had really caught my attention and I think I would actually watch it again to see some things I probably missed.

Lily Miller

This film was interesting. It was hard to follow at times due to the pacing and the complete character change.
The thing that I keep coming back to is how much the guy in the second part of the film talked to different objects in the apartment. Of the two stories within the film I enjoyed the second the most. It was nice to see that the guy had finally moved on and was in way coming back to reality of the world and not the one in his head.
I would like to watch the film again to see if there is any more information that can be gathered, after having seen the film once.

Amy Elder

I,as well, had negative feelings after watching the movie. The movie was hard for me to follow because it was different from typical American cinema. I think now that I know what to expect from Wong Kar Wai, I will be able to understand and enjoy the next movie much better.
After reading the book on Wong more in depth, I understood the storyline better. I was mad that I didn't catch all the parallels between the two stories! I would probably watch it again now that I know that and I understand the storyline better.

Anna Markee

Like Amy, I was also mad that I didn't catch all the parallels between the two stories.. I'm not sure how I missed some of them. For instance, I don't remember seeing the girl in the second part of the movie buying Garfield in the background of the first movie. I would like to watch the movie again just to look for that.

I also found it interesting in class how we drew conclusions about the nature of Hong-Kong based on the movie. This made me think about how film has a big impact on how people think about a certain area of the world. Film can be very influential this way... either in a positive or negative way. I have a friend that lives in Thailand and she told me that people in Thailand think that American teenagers are directly comparable to the characters in American Pie movies. So even though some of the conclusions we drew about Hong-Kong may be right (such as people knowing many different languages, lots of American products, and dirty crowded streets), this may not actually be true in all cases. Just as most American teens don't directly reflect the characters in American Pie films.

Lisa King

What I really liked about this film was the unique style of filming. The shutter speed effect was used really well, and it gave a different way of showing the character's emotions. Also, there were some points where the camera wasn't steady; it was a little shaky almost like the camera was handheld. The change in style was different and made it more dynamic.

I'm still not sure how I liked the double narratives. While there were similarities between some of the themes and characters, the abruptness of the change was a little weird, and it almost felt like the first story hadn't completely finished before the next one started.

Lauren Hiland

I really liked Chungking Express. I think I liked it even more than any of Malick's films that we viewed. I thought the two story's in one movie was a bit confusing though. I kept waiting for characters for the first part of the movie to show up in the second part, but they never did. I feel like the second part of the movie had an OK ending, but the first part kind of left me hanging.
For me it was really different when Wong Kar-Wai made the character in focus, be still or almost still, and everything around them was moving at a much faster pace.vOverall I thought it was a good movie, but it's definatly not something I'm used to watching so it was a bit of an experience for me.

Mason Brause

I like some of the filming techniques of this film like the blurred bystanders and shaking camera in the chase scenes and the sped-up background flowing around the main characters. It was also really interesting to see the Hong-Kong and the influence that American products have there. I doubt the companies (like coca-cola) bought product placement space in the film like they do in some american films but it sure showed up alot. I would have liked the film more if the two stories had come together in the end. It's interesting that the two stories appeared to be very similar and happening at the same time. I couldn't help but feel frustrated that that they both ended in a bit of a cliff-hanger.

Lucas Ashland

Chungking Express was an interesting movie to watch, especially because it was an extreme contrast to the Terrence Malick movies we just finished Watching. While Malick's films showed the viewer wide open landscapes and scenery, Wong Kar-wai's film felt claustrophobic and the settings seemed small and cramped in comparison. Wong Kar-wai's film seemed to be filmed mostly at night, especially in the first half, but Malick tended to film most of his films during the day. It is interesting to look at these two different styles of filming movies that have to do with dealing with depression and loneliness.

Karl Amspacher

I enjoyed Chungking Express, and thought it was a nice change of pace from the Terence Malick films. I can see why Quentin Tarantino would want to import this film, as its narrative structure is similar to many of his films. I hope that the next films are as refreshing as this one was.


In the beginning I wasn't too thrilled with the movie. It was very chaotic, busy and "foreign" (not that foreign is a bad thing, just not something I'm used to) But once I got used to pre-reading the captions then watching the action I started to like what Kar-wai was bringing to the screen. Each storyline seemed to be one "chunk" of the character's life. As if one day the cameras just flew in, then just as soon disappeared leaving us guessing as to how the stories ended.

Melissa Werner

I loved this movie. I thought the characters were intriguing, and I wanted to know more about them. I may have been a little less thrown off by the English signs and the large amount of American product advertisements, as well as the general style of the film, simply because I lived in Asia for a year, and got used to seeing these kind of things ALL THE TIME. (Yes, what you're seeing is fairly accurate, even many years after the making of this film.) I also enjoyed the combination of the two stories, because in such a crowded city, somehow it feels right to switch focus suddenly to completely different people - and know that you may never see the other couple again. To me, it just seems to fit the environment they're living in, it's fast paced, chaotic and things may change in a instant. Of course, I say all that, but I truly wonder what my viewing experience would have been like if I had not known beforehand that this would be happening? In any case, I can not wait to watch more Wong Kar-wai movies!

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