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Piecing Together Chungking Express

Upon first viewing, Chungking Express doesn't appear like it has much to offer. It's a mash-up of two separate and distinct stories. The first half of the film tells the stories of Cop 223 taking down criminals while coping with the loss of his girlfriend, and a woman in a blonde wig whose drug deal goes south and who must track down the money or face the consequences from her employer. The second half is all about Cop 663 and his meet-ups with Faye, a new employee at the Midnight Express; she finds the key to his apartment in a Dear John letter and secretly starts visiting it and changing things every day at lunch. After subsequent viewings, however, the two halves begin to connect.

As I noticed the growing connections between the two stories, a whole world of stylistic depth opened in front of me. I continue to watch the film again and again, and each time I discover a new piece to its puzzle. Narrative similarities, color, character framing, and camera stalking are just a few of the many style elements that tie Chungking Express together and take it from good to grand.

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