Unimpressed With Chungking Express

We settled down on Monday night to watch Chungking Express, which I’d been wanting to watch for the longest time, firstly because it was critically acclaimed yadda yadda yadda, secondly and quite importantly, I admit, because it featured Aniki Jin, holder of the dubious honour of being the only Oriental celebrity I’ve ever found remotely attractive. Disappointment on both fronts, unfortunately.

The men were either pathetic (recently heartbroken guy buys a tin of pineapple every day which expires on May 1st, because his ex-girlfriend was called May, and she liked pineapple, and his birthday is May 1st. On his birthday he eats the 30 tins of pineapple he’s accumulated since she dumped him on April Fool’s Day) or, er, pathetic (second recently heartbroken guy talks to his flat, which is apparently also heartbroken in the wake of her leaving. When he comes home and it’s flooded, he tells it he understands why it’s crying). The women are either criminals (in both the legal and fashion senses) or, you guessed it, pathetic (girl who is probably meant to be quirky and cool since she’s played by Faye Wong falls in love with latter heartbroken guy. She shows him this by secretly entering his flat and cleaning it for hours every day).

I was so nauseated by Aniki’s character (pineapple guy) that I couldn’t even appreciate his gorgeous face. The only redeeming quality of the movie for me was that I’d never seen Faye Wong before despite her superstardom, and I did finally realize what some of the fuss is about. She’s got fascinating, if not conventionally beautiful, features, and I support girls with adventurous short haircuts on principle.

At this point I must mention that I am far from an authority on Chinese/HK films, given that the only ones I’ve watched that I can even remember well enough to name are Mr Coconut and All’s Well Ends Well (quick conversion for Western readers: this is like saying the only Western movies I’ve ever watched are American Pie and Dumb And Dumber). I therefore appeal to readers better versed in such films than I am to tell me what the hell was meant to be so great about Chungking Express.

[Some Faye Wong song recommendations would be good too. I only know Tian Kong and that horrible cover of the Cranberries’ Dreams. Our three-girl flat has the amusing tendency to burst loudly into song on whims, depending on what song is in what head. Unfortunately, right now Tian Kong is in all our heads, but we only know four words (wo de TIAN KONG!), which makes for somewhat repetitive listening over time.]