Sunday, September 26, 2021

Fallen Angels

 Do Her Fingers Tremble from Love? / Take Out

155 weeks of being partners in crime? They're both on drugs! 

It's all true. "ENICAR" the clock sponsor is "RACINE" backwards. Does Michelle Reis love Leon Lai? It's like asking a desk receptionist. "Hold on, if you can take a seat, I'll..." 

We are meant to think from the opening 10 minutes that Reis is Lai's cleaning woman. She is. They also link up as it stands to commit assassinations. The name of this film is Duo luo tian shi [1995/2021], which  translates literally or so I can tell to something essentially like, more or less, Fallen Angels. There's that slash up there next to 1995 signifying 2021. So basically, my understanding is, Wong worked some of the sequences (as I believe he did in the previous pictures) but here also reframed it into 2.35:1. Without regard to lenses it should be noted. Just a cropping of the original 1.85:1 frame to 2.35... I could talk about the ramifications of this with regard to Wong's film but I won't now except to say that I think the new framing is very beautiful, and allows the mise-en-scène to focus more succinctly upon elements within the frame.

"'Cause I'm cool..." — Every actor-principal in a Wong film is given an invisible backstage pass of sorts to stride through commercial kitchens — But — not so fast: isn't this how we encountered Brigitte Lin in Chungking Express? (Bear in mind this is not the sole connection between these films and, indeed, Wong envisioned Fallen Angels as more stories that would be linked to Chungking Express, hence the blonde hair, the clocks, expiration dates, obviously Kaneshiro would have been someone else in him.)

Lai's identity is basically null, until that moment on the public bus when a crazed ex-grammar-school friend whacks him with a newspaper and exclaims "Ming!" Oh christ. "Ming" has to brandish a wallet-photo he's bought for the occasion: him with a Black woman and a mixed child. There's no reaction from the schoolmate beyond something that suggests these are interchangeable, ethnic nuclear family. And yet these two meeting on the bus and recognizing one another speaks to something of specificity, meaning overlapped seasons in schools. It is here where Chungking Express's "California Dreamin'" must bleed over into the second film implicitly.

"My name is Ho Chi-moo," pronounces Takeshi Kaneshiro about 20 minutes into the film. He is at once and is not the policeman from Chungking Express; his badge number is now a prisoner number. What's more, he can no longer speak following the eating of expired peaches when he was a child. Now he only sees the world via his stare through a video camera. And this he trains upon his father.

Imagine receiving a coin marked "1818" for a jukebox from one you love. You'd get down on your knees and pretend to pray. This is a film about leaving today. But it's impossible.

"Forget him / And it's like forgetting everything... / It's like losing all direction / Losing oneself..."

Those are the lyrics. Pick up a loosey-goosey in a McDonald's. Make a girl masturbate in tears. Aren't there invisible threads between particular bodies?

Back to Ho Chi-moo and his girl "Charlie Young" (Charlie Yeung). I read my notes like a police officer. It says here that there was quite a kerfuffle at the restaurant behind Charlie and Chi-moo. Their life is an aquarium, and more beautifully put in Coppola's Rumble Fish.



Other writing about Wong Kar-wai at Cinemasparagus:


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