Table of contents

Chungking express

A story about policemen falling in love

Cop #223 was left by his girl. He wants to know when love expires when he realizes she does not love him anymore. He took it as a joke when she left him: He thought it made no sense. It was laughable because he did the things that earn love, or make one loveable. He knows because her boss used to compare them to a popular Japanese couple, & poetry would know…

His solution to heartbreak is to run: Running dehydrates him, so he cannot cry. It’s a way to replace the promises of love with the facts of the body. But he learns that love has power over the body, too. The best he can do is replace one beloved by another, but he is still a slave to his beloved. Heartbreak does make him inquisitive, however, though not careful about choosing… It’s surprising to see what excesses of food & drink a young man’s body withstands.

Cop #663 was in love with a stewardess. Whenever she came to town, they were lovers. The man who sells him food enjoins him to offer the woman some variation. The cop is persuaded. Then the woman leaves him. She wanted a change. He realizes his homely ways are not really attractive. He notices a woman might like variation in men as well as food.

Then a young girl falls in love with him. For a number of reasons, she lies to him about this. She knows the stewardess left him; she sees how much this hurts him, however much he does not show it – she notices because love makes her incredibly sensitive to his moods. She makes it a habit to take care of his apartment, in the way a wife would.

Her secret ways are eventually found out & her fear almost paralyzes her, which prevents her from running away. He massages her feet, which she dares not enjoy, even though it shows he cares for her. When once he realizes what plans the woman had been enacting, he realizes she loves him. So he asks her on a date. She promptly becomes a stewardess & departs for warmer climes.

The man occasionally talks to his former beloved’s things around the house. He finds it easier to pity them than to pity himself. He tells himself he should not be angry with her. He looks down at himself without harshness. He is not destroyed by betrayal or the opinion that he is unlovable. Heartbreak does not make him ugly. Rather, he learns to become as homeless as the women he loves. He seems to have treated love as a homely affair, but a love affair is apparently full of danger.

The first of Wong Kar Wai’s melodramas, a fine, youthful love story