Fallen Angels (Duo luo tian shi, Hong Kong)

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This is probably my favourite Wong Kar-Wai film. I love its portrayal of urban alienation and Chris Doyle’s cinematography is sensational. WIth its companion piece, Chungking Express (Chung Hing sam lam, Hong Kong, 1994), Fallen Angels offers a vision of Hong Kong as a hyper-real landscape on the brink (of Chinese takeover). Hong Kong, as a place that is defined by business, is the definitive postmodern environment and the surface glitz of the films’ imagery emphasises this aspect of the place. However, the ‘lost’ and ‘longing’ characters, humanise our understanding of late 20th century existence.

One Response

  1. […] Hu Ge (Zhou Zenong) is a classic noir protagonist: the police are after him; a gang is after him; a woman he probably shouldn’t trust offers to help him. I agree with the Variety reviewer when she says Zhou channels Robert Mitchum, he has a looming, self-contained presence. We know he’s a noir protagonist from the first shot where he lurks beneath an underpass at night and a woman in a red dress meets him. The stylisation makes for an absolute visual treat and the, at first, convoluted narrative means you have to be alert. A conclave of gangsters meet to learn about stealing mopeds and divvy up territory in a basement of a hotel; violence ensues. The absurdity of the situation suggests the influence of Tarantino but apparently Diao based the events of the film on news stories. Despite this, the ghost of the American director haunts the film, for me, whereas Diao would have been better channeling the aesthetic of Wong Kar-wai: there are some quite long sequences of Hu on a motorcycle with the woman that reminded me of Fallen Angels. […]

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