The assassin knows two women; the dark one plans the assassinations he executes. She knows him by picking through his garbage – bodily leftovers. The blonde one picks him up at McDonald’s, bleaches her hair, & has sex with him. The dark masters her art – but cunning may be unlovable.
The blonde promises the pleasure that we also think is good, but which is a matter of having, not of getting. She simply assumes he will love her, that she is loveable. She is wrong, he shows her. She becomes unhappy, because she cannot make him her own.
He one day meets an old schoolmate who recognizes him. He shows this guy a picture of a black woman & some kid, pretending they are his family. The guy is a life insurance salesman–the assassin is skeptical his life can be insured. He is too dangerous & unpredictable.
He says life is easy when someone decides life & death for you: It’s predictable, nor yet as dangerous as people fear. But he is restive. This must predate murder, or else why abandon the life of the city? Unsatisfied, he is obedient awhile & then no longer. With whom shall he keep faith? Trust & neediness go together. In his job, that’s a danger. But there is something else. Love is about what makes life worth living. He dares not decide that for himself. The job requires obedience; he will not obey in love. He is a man in search of a soul. He knows soul is needed to be human. He lives by night, secluded, like a criminal.
Need implies the political or a substitute, a being together with other humans. The assassin wants to buy a restaurant – like the cop in Chunking Express. But that man had law on his side. He could live in the city. He trusts the woman who betrays him; she had trusted him, & feels betrayed, so she retaliates. The man does not think that that’s what he’s always done, he’s enacted people’s vengeance or provoked it. Sexual possessivity is not the only kind: A job or a city can be as possessive as a woman.
The other man, also a criminal, breaks into businesses at night. He works, playing ice-cream man, butcher, barber to people. They do not want to buy, he wants to sell. If they are unpersuaded, he will compel them. He mocks the self-transformation of the lover into something the beloved wants. He makes himself useful to be lovable. Women find him unlovable: They suspect he does not believe he is loveable. Confidence is lovable because it announces the good. Lovers see self-contained perfection in their beloveds. That attracts them.
The sequel to Chungking Express. Its protagonists are criminals not cops, it takes place by night not by day, & shocases the suffering, not the promises, of love. In short, an educational companion to a charming movie…