Hong Kong, 1994, 102 min, Dir. Wong Kar Wai, Not Rated, Cantonese with English subtitles, Janus Films
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The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of nineties cinema and the film that made Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing.
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35 mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema. Joined by key collaborators such as cinematographer Christopher Doyle, editor and production and costume designer William Chang, and actors Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, Wong (or WKW, as he is often known) has enraptured audiences and critics worldwide and inspired countless other filmmakers with his movies’ poetic moods, narrative and stylistic daring, and potent themes of alienation and memory. Whether tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the films in this retrospective are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist. Gables Cinema and Janus Films are proud to present the following Wong Kar Wai classics in brand-new 4K restorations, in addition to a new director’s cut of The Hand: As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, and In the Mood for Love.