In "Chungking Express," Wong Kar-Wai once again explores the theme of love by dividing the film into two parts, each narrating two stories with three main characters. This structure provides opportunities to delve into three facets of love.
Love as Memory:
In the first story, we follow Ho Chi Mu, a 25-year-old police officer who has recently broken up with his girlfriend, Mei. All that remains of their relationship are his memories, which he clings to, refusing to accept its end and the profound loneliness it brings. He appears to have no one else in his life. Mei herself is never seen, but objects frequently evoke her through our protagonist's memories.
Love as Pain:
In the second story, Officer 663 experiences the pain of his separation from a flight attendant. He harbors no illusions and doesn't seek to rekindle the connection through memories and objects. Nevertheless, reminders of her are present in his house, all recalling her presence, simple and dear. He too neglects himself and his home, sinking into sadness and solitude.
Love as Tenderness and Confusion:
This man falls in love with Faye, a young, dreamy employee at the canteen where Officer 663 drinks coffee. Faye is lonely, and it seems no one truly understands her. She doesn't appear troubled by this, as she is in a phase of searching for her life's purpose. She finds solace in her mundane job while listening to "California Dreamin'" and "Dreams on End," determined to drown out the voices of others and even her own thoughts. Her unrequited love for the policeman prompts her to explore new ways of expressing her confused tenderness, attempting to finally connect with someone.
As you've witnessed, the central theme threading through the film is love as both a remedy and a reminder of our loneliness. Wong Kar-Wai presents this to us in the most direct and heartfelt manner, set against the chaotic, narrow, bustling, and beloved backdrop of Hong Kong. You'll undoubtedly be moved and filled with a sense of warmth after the film concludes, with "California Dreamin'" likely playing in your mind for at least three days afterward