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BLUR AS GENRE: WONG KAR-WAI

THE ETERNAL CITY OF YOUTH beckons anew: romantic urban ciphers (cops, gun moll, stewardess, fast-food gamine) bathed in neon reflections of themselves, style as metaphysics (sunglasses at midnight), gaiety and sorrow entwined in a hungover reverie. That’s the mood of Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express, the 1994 Hong Kong movie-cum-international-sensation that finally opens this month in America under the banner of—who else?—Quentin Tarantino. Wong, though, goes in for cerebral Pop abstractions instead of brain-splatter pulp. A dazzlingly adroit synthesis of art cinema and MTV, Chungking Express has a deadpan cosmopolitan energy that conflates successive New Waves—Godard’s and Debbie Harry’s. (In Wong’s most recent film, Fallen Angels, 1995, a feverish extension of this masculin/féminin mystique, currently making the festival rounds in the West, there’s even a tough cookie called Blondie.)

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