The Pestle


Ep 190: “Chungking Express”

May 03, 2022

We sneak into Wong Kar-Wai’s “Chungking Express” and discuss:

  • Cinematography, step-printing, the emotional impression of motion blur;
  • Story;
  • Directing & Acting without lines;
  • and other such stuff and things and stuff.

I like it when somebody tells me a story, and I actually really feel that that’s becoming like a lost art in American cinema.Quentin Tarantino

Notes & References:
Wong Kar Wai’s writing style: “Nowadays I start from a fairly loose script and tend to write the dialogue on the day of shooting. On Chungking Express, for example, I would sit in the coffee shop of the Holiday Inn on Nathan Road writing the lines and then go two blocks down the road to Chungking Mansions and give them to the actors just before we shot.”
He made “Chungking Express” after spending 2 years making “Ashes of Time”, and after Ashes finished postproduction he began making Chungking while waiting for Ashes to start its festival run. In a separate situation he had to pause making “In the Mood for Love” due to financial issues and was committed to making “2046”, and ended up working on both films simultaneously. So he’s had an interesting history with piling films on top of each other. Hope that clarifies everything.
Tarantino’s intro video for “Chungking Express” – I don’t remember actually watching this 15 years ago, but I’m guessing this is the source of info that Wong Kar-Wai stopped in the middle of Ashes to go make Chungking Express, I’m assuming my friend Jay reiterated this to me after I watched the film; interesting that he also discusses it in terms of French New Wave, don’t think I jacked Quentin’s whole steez here, certainly not intentionally, but doubt I watched this way back when as I usually shy away from this kinda stuff, but ’tis posiblé!
• Faye Wong, “The Diva of Asia”, is reportedly worth $150M
Dee Rees explains the “triple bumper theory” (Reddit link where I originally saw this)
Step-printing article
Miyazaki’s writing style – “he focuses on the visual storyboards and then constructs the stories around the images he creates”
Drake Doremus’ improvisational writing style for “Like Crazy” – “…having your cast improvise all of their lines on the spot with just a framework of a story to work with.”
Scorsese vs Marvel “But the sameness of today’s franchise pictures is something else again. Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.”

Watch us on YouTube!

Short Spotlight:

Pachinko’s Title Sequence

This Week’s Recommendations:

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top