Thursday, August 16, 2012


The difficult part in watching some modern foreign films, especially from Asia, is that while interesting and often wonderfully filmed, they are often surreal and confusing. Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels (1995) is one such film. Surely there are deeper messages here about the culture and (possibly in this case) the urban angst of criminals, but they are clearly beyond my comprehension. The general story follows a hitman and his partner (who plans the hits, but they do not see each other) as he has decided to call it quits and she is obsessed with him and determined to meet him in person. Intersecting this story is one about a mute man (Takeshi Kaneshiro, best known for role in House of Flying Daggers), son of a hotel manager, who breaks into closed shops and acts as if he is working there and harasses potential clients; he falls in love with a woman (played by Charlie Yeung, who has had a good career, probably best known in Western audiences for her role in Bangkok Dangerous) who pines for another man. Almost all the characters are crazy, especially the females. In addition to the killer's partner, who seems put off by men and likes to masterbate with her clothes on, there is a whacky wacked-out woman (played by Karen Mok in one of her early films) who dyed her hair blonde and falls in love with the killer. If she approached me the way she does him, I would be running away in fear. One of the strangest scenes is when the mute invades a butcher shop and gives a massage to a pig carcass. Perhaps one theme is that no matter one's profession or weirdness, everybody need to connect somehow with others. In many ways it was like a typical Chinese meal: you stuff yourself, but after it is over you still do not feel completely fulfilled. Still, I kind of liked the movie, Michelle Reis is gorgeous, and many scenes are beautifully shot.

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