In honor of Valentine's Day, our staff will be sharing some of their favorite romantic scenes all day long.
My favorite romantic scenes are ones that show true openness and vulnerability, even when I've seen them so many times I've practically memorized them: Rick insisting that Ilsa must go (Casablanca), Benjamin rattling the glass and shouting "Elaine! Elaine!" (The Graduate), and Lloyd Dobler holding a boom box over his head (Say Anything...). Those feelings characterize the final scene of Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express.
The film tells two stories, both featuring Hong Kong cops dealing with the pangs of love and loss, and the very special ladies that revolve around them. In the second tale, gorgeous Tony Leung Chiu Wai (AKA Cop 663) catches the eye of food stand worker Faye Wong (AKA Faye). They meet as "California Dreamin'" (by The Mamas & the Pappas) is blaring from a radio, and it's not immediately obvious that they've made any kind of connection. Obstacles must be overcome, shyness must be swallowed, and household belongings must shed tears before romance can be considered. It all leads to the final scene, which turns their first meeting on its head. It's fraught with peril and surprises and suspense and, yes, "California Dreamin'" once again. By the time it ends, kicking directly into Faye Wong singing "Dreams" (by The Cranberries), I'm overcome with emotion, sobbing my little heart out.
However, I must insist that you NOT watch the final scene (please!) until you've seen the entire movie. Watching it out of sequence will in no way communicate why it is so effective and so romantic. If you haven't seen Chungking Express yet, please watch the first scene, which presents the first meeting of Faye and Cop 663, and then go rent and/or buy and/or borrow one of my favorite movies of all time.