Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Leon Lai Ming, Michelle Reis, Takashi Kaneshiro, Charlie Yeung, Karen Mok
Written by: Wong Kar-wai
Directed by: Wong Kar-wai
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Cantonese, with English subtitles
Running Time: 97
Date: 06/09/1995
IMDB

Fallen Angels (1995)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Lives & Style

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Wong Kar-wai's most stylistically dense film (and my favorite), Fallen Angels, is said to be an unofficial sequel -- or at least a companion piece -- to Chungking Express, a third chapter for that film that didn't quite fit. It, too, follows a series of lost, sad characters who can't ever seem to relate.

The most poignant involves a woman (Michele Reis) who works nights for a hit man (Leon Lai Ming) with whom she may be in love but never sees. The hit man becomes involved with a loony woman called "Blondie," who loosely ties into the second story. In that, Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a cheerful man-child who never speaks (he stopped speaking after eating a can of expired pineapple as a kid); he breaks into shops at night and opens them for business. He also falls for a girl, but never quite connects with her.

The film is Wong's most visually striking, with Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle constantly inventing intoxicating new, wide-angle shots for every scene. Rather than feeling restricting or nauseating, the images are instead dreamy and cool. It's also Wong's most cheerful and hopeful film, as proved by the film's striking ending. It was released in the United States in 1998, around the same time as Wong's Happy Together.

DVD Details: For 2009, Kino has re-released Fallen Angels, which has slowly emerged as my favorite Wong, with a new transfer, re-mastered from a high-def source. (The picture definitely looks better, though I was pretty happy with the last disc.) The new release comes with lots of new extras, including three featurettes and an interview with Doyle.

Blu-Ray Details: Last year Kino released this film on a new, hi-definition DVD transfer, and now they have followed up with an even more impressive Blu-Ray edition. Extras include three brief featurettes (with some comments by Wong), an interview with Doyle, trailers and stills.

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