डाकिए की ओर से: कौड़ी भी कई बार यदि थोड़ा महंगा मिले तो कौड़ी के भाव जान पड़ता है। और फिर यदि कोई जिज्ञासा जगाती किताब 50 रूपए सेल के हिसाब से मिलने लगे तो अब इस महंगे हो चले शहर में महीने के बाकी बचे दिनों के लिए औसतन इतने ही रूपए के रोज़ का गुज़ारा निकाल कर भी दिल खुश हो लेता है। प्रगति मैदान में इन दिनों राज्य स्तरीय पुस्तक मेला का आयोजन किया है जो 31 अगस्त तक चलेगी। ये किताब वहीं से मिली। अपनी अंग्रेजी किसी से छुपी नहीं है लेकिन आंखों में तो दम है तजऱ् पर लुगत लेकर बैठें‘गे’ और समझ लें‘गे’। फिलहाल इसी पुस्तक से एक निष्कर्ष आपके लिए पेशे नज्र है, जो दिलदारा नाज़रीन इस तस्वीर से रू-ब-रू हो चुके हैं वे अपने दिल में महफूज़ उन अहसासों से इसका मिलान करे।
It seems that in Chungking Express anyone is only ever 0.01cm away from love, from romance, from truly belonging. At all times, all the characters seem desperately close to having their fantasies, desires and utopian dream fulfilled. But even this tine gap between Cop223 and the Blonde Woman, and Cop 663 and Faye, produces disappointment, despair and a deep yearning/need for the gap to be closed. And yet, paradoxically, when the opportunities emerge for real fleshy connection between the characters, they run away from one another. Cop223 watches TV, eats Chef salads while the woman he has fallen in love with sleeps. It doesn’t seem to cross his mind to get in bed with her, to caress her soft skin, to close the gap. Faye takes flight when confronted by Cop 663 and the now tangible possibility that they will be intimate with one another. She stands him up at the California bar, and makes her way to the ‘real’ California, in effect increasing the gap between them.
The core motif that one is only 0.01cm away from love is constructed in a number of ways in the film. Telecommunications provide the gap to converse, to leave messages, to record one’s desires, without being in the exact same, close proximity space as the other person. Chance encounters that don’t quite work out in terms of the precise collision between time and space structure the love affairs in the film. At the beginning of the film, Cop 223 manages to avoid literally falling into/onto the Blonde Woman, asserting the importance of the gap between them. If he had fallen into her arms the sexual outcome between them might have been very different. Faye is seen constantly cleaning, tidying and rearranging Cop 663’s apartment, and yet until the very end of the film, never bumps into him (in his own space!). Goods and food establish or maintain the gap between people. The jilted Cop223 devours his girlfriend’s favorite food because he can no longer have her; the Blonde Woman establishes distance with the drug boss through her commodity disguise (he never gets really close to the real woman, behind the mask); and Cop 663 gets close to Faye through buying the Midnight Express where she used to work.
However, the sense that one is always in close proximity to love and romance can be seen to be a high positive thing, as if the world is constantly charged by, or at least is on stand-by for the possibility of the intimate encounter. To be always potentially a fraction of a measurement away from someone who you could love forever, is simply electric. Hong Kong provides the potential for this sensuous type of intimacy because of its population density, and diversity in goods, experiences and spaces.
Chungking Express is a mixed-up film much in the way that the characters are themselves mixed-up (over love, their own identities, desires and needs). In one sense it is clearly influenced by European Art Cinema, and in particular the work of Jan-Luc Godard. In another, it is clearly influenced by (Hollywood) genres, MTV style music videos, and the signs and codes of popular culture more generally. Chungking Express seems to be critical of the influence of goods, brands, and the media on every Hong Kong life; and yet, at the same time, it seems to celebrate the aura of the commodity and the consumption space. Chungking Express pays homage to American culture and yet also shows American culture be hackneyed and empty of any deep, interior meaning (it is ultimately disposable).
Chungking Express seems to be nostalgic for a romantic Hong Kong past of cultural diversity, and fearful of a future under Chinese rule. Chungking Express is a schizophrenic film, full of schizophrenic characters, and diverse and contradictory reference points. But this is what makes the film so fascinating, so thought provoking, so beautifully memorable. One is only ever 0.01cm away from falling love with this film.
Courtesy & ©: auteur