Chungking Express (1994)
Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong
I'm gonna end off the year with a movie that should not require any introduction at all. While Chungking Express might not be my all time favourite Wong Kar Wai film (that goes to Days of Being Wild), I certainly think it's his best movie to date. From beginning to end, this movie is just injected with a certain kind of energy that constantly reminds you how beautiful the cinematic art form is. If you ever talk to anyone who's just watched Chungking Express for the first time, you're bound to get into a discussion about the 'connection' between the two sets of characters in the movie. And after re-watching the movie more times than I can count over the years, I gotta say that my interpretation of it continues to change. Maybe there isn't even supposed to be any meaningful connection, but as a viewer, you're driven to go on this search because Wong Kar Wai is just that good. It's because he's so good that you end up finding some kind of thematic or structural connection that binds things together. Not because you're forced to through confusing plot elements or manipulative structural choices, but because you genuinely want to. In my very biased opinion (it's not the first or last time I'll be writing about Wong Kar Wai), Chungking Express is one of the most exciting and kinetic movies ever made, and it utilizes the cinematic art form to its fullest. On a side note, even if you were a fan of the song before watching Chungking Express, how can anyone not associate California Dreamin' with this movie after watching it? And how impressive is it that this was Faye Wong's first acting gig ever? Also, Tony Leung with that giant sized Garfield doll? I could go on with this for a long time, so will make a conscious decision to just stop. Knowing that backstory of how Wong Kar Wai made this film in a jiffy while taking a break from filming Ashes of Time, this movie feels like lightning in a bottle. So for people who ask why he hasn't made another movie like this, it's simply because it's not humanly possible. Chungking Express is a miracle of a film and we should all just be very thankful that it was ever created.