Time in the Chungking Express

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Words: 514

Pages: 3

Category: Music and Cinema

Date Submitted: 11/18/2012 06:18 PM

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Time stands still when the heart stops and seems to speed by when adrenaline and blood are pumping through one's arteries. Two situations in which these conditions occur are when one is in danger and when one is in love. In Chungking Express, time is manipulated to portray these two classes of emotion.

The very first scene of the movie is a mad chase through Hong Kong. Time is shown in fragments, and the movie is filmed haphazardly. Characters are shown only briefly and from strange angles; this is how we get out first glimpses of lives in danger and the characters in fight or flight mode.

Time is shown when x is fleeing from the Indians in the Chungking Mansions. Her life is endangered due to this vengeful mob, which is shown tearing after her. In the nick of time, she is shown suddenly emerging from a tunnel and slipping onto a subway train, making her escape.

Time is also shown to be shortened in the way x is constantly checking the time, repeating that she has a limited amount of time to find the lost diamonds. By using this cinematographic element, the author creates a sense of urgency and risk in the film. The viewer wonders what the repercussions of running out of time will be for her, and we fear the worst.

Next, love. One of the narrator's most memorable lines from the opening of the film is, "55 hours later, I fell in love with her." Love is shown to transcend the laws of the hourglass. 1 day and 7 hours is an abnormally short amount of time for two people to fall in love, but y claims that he has overcome those restraints.

Time is also a key component in demonstrating ys broken heartedness over May, his ex girlfriend. The director leaves us with y for long periods of time outside of the restaurant where may always used to eat after work. He waits day in, day out, hoping to heal his shattered heart, but in vain. He also measures May's absence in cans of pineapple that expire on May 1st, his birthday. He buys one every day for 30 days...