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Chungking Express (1994)

Chung Hing sam lam (original title)
PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 8 March 1996 (USA)
Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents.

Director:

Kar-Wai Wong (as Kar Wai Wong)

Writer:

Kar-Wai Wong (as Kar Wai Wong)
Reviews
Popularity
3,571 ( 34)
8 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Brigitte Lin ... Woman in blonde wig (as Ching-hsia Lin)
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung ... Cop 663 (as Tony Chiu Wai Leung)
Faye Wong ... Faye
Takeshi Kaneshiro ... He Zhiwu, Cop 223
Valerie Chow ... Air Hostess
Jinquan Chen Jinquan Chen ... Manager of 'Midnight Express'
Lee-Na Kwan Lee-Na Kwan ... Richard (as Guan Lina)
Zhiming Huang Zhiming Huang ... Man
Liang Zhen Liang Zhen ... The 2nd May
Songshen Zuo Songshen Zuo ... Man
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Storyline

Wong Kar-Wai's movie about two love-struck cops is filmed in impressionistic splashes of motion and color. The first half deals with Cop 223, who has broken up with his girlfriend of five years. He purchases a tin of pineapples with an expiration date of May 1 each day for a month. By the end of that time, he feels that he will either be rejoined with his love or that it too will have expired forever. The second half shows Cop 663 dealing with his breakup with his flight attendant girlfriend. He talks to his apartment furnishings until he meets a new girl at a local lunch counter. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If my memory of her has an expiration date, let it be 10,000 years...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, sexuality and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Release Date:

8 March 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chungking Express See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,779, 10 March 1996

Gross USA:

$600,200

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$630,512
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Jet Tone Production See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (international)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was the Criterion Collection's first Blu-ray release, along with Bottle Rocket (1996), The Third Man (1949), and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). With the exception of the former film, all of the titles have since gone out of print. See more »

Goofs

The woman in the blonde wig had no apparent opportunity to get the beeper number except from Cop 223 himself the night before, and he wouldn't have started to abandon his beeper as useless if he had just given someone new the number. See more »

Quotes

Woman in blonde wig: Somehow I've become very cautious. When I put on a raincoat, I put on sunglasses too. Who knows when it will rain, or when it will turn out sunny?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original Hong Kong release ran 98 minutes. 'Kar Wai Wong' made several changes to the international version, bringing the running time to 102 minutes:
  • The international version expands the scenes where The Blonde prepares for the smuggling trip and later searches for the smugglers.
  • Indian music plays during the smugglers' arrival at the airport in international prints; in the Hong Kong version, the title theme plays.
  • The international version includes the kidnapping of an Indian girl, which does not occur in the Hong Kong version.
  • The sequence with Zhiwu loitering outside his girlfriend's window appears earlier in international edit.
  • In the Hong Kong version, the Faye Wong cover of "Dreams" plays over the shot of 663 drinking coffee. The international version strips out the music (leaving only ambient noise), although "Dreams" still appears at the end of the film. The international cut is Wong's preferred version and has been used for most home video releases. The Hong Kong cut was released on VHS/laserdisc by World Video and on VHS/LD/DVD by Mei Ah.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bittersweet Memories (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

California Dreamin'
Written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips
Performed by The Mamas and the Papas
See more »

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User Reviews

Achingly beautiful film-making
19 March 2004 | by cirving39See all my reviews

Masterful Hong Kong film-maker Wong Kar Wai understands that love is about the unspoken moments between people, the hidden gestures betraying loneliness. Chungking Express is a unique expression of such notions of love. The film doesn't pretend that love is all-embracing and constant, in the way so many predictable films would suggest. Love, for the protagonists of this film, comes and goes between subtle glances - always elusive. Indeed if a level of contentment can be reached at all for these characters - it is a fleeting moment, a memory of a song, the way that somebody smells. There are so many essential moments in this film - when Dinah Washington's 'What a difference a day makes' plays over two lovers cavorting, the moments when characters talk to inanimate objects to overcome their loss of love, the brief glances between the second policeman and the waitress across the counter of the fast-food restaurant. It has been dismissed as an exercise in style over substance by many, mainly due to the hypnotic way in which the film is shot and the lack of a real story as such. I don't feel the need to defend it from these accusations because the beauty of the film is there on the screen and nothing I have said or could say could really do it justice. It breaks my heart every time.


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