Midnight Express

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18. Embracing Change as a Universal Concept in Chungking Express

Chungking Express is a romantic film of two different tales, pieced together in an abrupt, stop-and-go fashion, where the end of one denotes the start of the other. The two distinct stories have no relations, and thus establish two very different worlds and versions of romance. However, this deliberate choice of knitting two incongruous stories together forces viewers to juxtapose them, and seek connections between them.

Ultimately, parallels that resonate the two stories, reinforced by motifs and music, present an overarching idea that change is an essential part of life. It is in embracing change that allows the protagonists, in both worlds, to flourish. Painting such a message
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Both the two policemen patronize this joint. Quite literally, even the plotlines converge here. There is even a shot in the film where the camera pans across the title board of the store (figure 4). ‘Midnight Express’, on its own can be seen as a symbol of change and transition. The term “mid”, grants a sense of being in-between. Under the motif of time, midnight is a time frame that is neither day nor night, it is in the transition of two days. Furthermore, “express” has an obvious connotation to this idea of transit. However there is a large paradox that surrounds this because ‘Midnight Express’, to the two male protagonists, is a marker of routine. Both Zhiwu and Cop 663 frequent the store to mull over love that is lost in their own respective ways. It is a reflection of their struggle to accept…show more content…
In the first story, Zhiwu stuffs himself with the thirty cans of pineapples in quick succession. Figure behavior here seems to present him as a man inclined to fastness and immediacy, who is unable to accept a slower pace of life. As the story progresses, he is presented to be eating fast-food, in the hotel again, in quick successions. Fast-food, as the name suggests, is an obvious symbol of immediacy.

For Cop 663, the food motive reveals his inclination to a mundane lifestyle where the repetition of him ordering the Chef’s salad for his girlfriend and himself eating the tinned fish. In fact, change is even presented as some kind of a “jinx”, where the change of menu leads to the breaking down of his relationship. Therefore change, in this instance, is presented in a negative
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