The Brattle Theater in Cambridge recently had a week of tribute to China's finest director, Wong Kar-Wai. They played some old and newer films alike, creating a spectacular retrospective of his career. While I was not able to be in attendance for all of the screenings that I wished to see, I simply could not pass up the opportunity to view my favorite film of all time, Chungking Express, on the big screen.
Carl and I went in to Cambridge this past Tuesday night for the screening. We started the evening with some Annas Taqueria (I have no clue what that link has to do with AT), easily the best burrito you will get in Massachusetts (not as good as Maui Taco in Hawaii, though). I won't go any further with my praise because I know the Arizona folks will murder me. On a side note, I have answered the question as to whether or not a Annas burrito is edible after sitting out all night, and the answer is "Yes."
The Brattle Theater is a little, hole-in-the-wall, one-screen job. Very cozy! Unfortunately, as we approached to purchase our tickets I noticed a sign posted on the window: "Due to matters beyond our control we will be screening the DVD of CHUNGKING EXPRESS." Doh! Nothing against the Rolling Thunder Pictures DVD; it is by far the best quality audio, translation, and subtitle color that I've encountered for this film. But there would have been a certain charm to viewing an original film print of Chungking Express. I was hoping for some alternate shots and music, a la the Chinese DVD. I wanted some white subtitles, if only to prove that you don't even need words to appreciate this story.
The theater itself is really nice. It even has a balcony section (you better believe that's where we sat). How many theaters can still say that? It really was a great experience seeing it in a real theater. It was bizarre to see so many people in one place, all tuned in and loving this film. I'm so used to having to convince people to watch this with me. Like my cousin Lindsey: "If I wanted to read, I'd pick up a book."
There was a man sitting next to us who was particularly enjoying the film. He may have had the aid of some illegal substances, however. He was laughing at all the funny parts, and laughing hysterically at all of the non-funny parts. It actually added to my enjoyment of the movie. As he laughed he would mutter little things to himself. Like when Faye Wong is switching everything around in No. 633's apartment: "OH GOD! HAHAHA!" Or when No. 633 wrings out the new towel that Faye has placed in his apartment and then utters my favorite line: "It was such a relief when I saw it crying. It may look different, but it's still true to itself. It's still an emotionally charged towel." Funny Boy Richard next door: "WHAT ... WHAT THE ... WHO'S A ... HOO HOO HOO!"
All in all a fine experience. But I'll still regret missing Ashes of Time, Days of Being Wild, As Tears Go By, etc. Maybe they'll come back some day.
I just found out about a new film that WKW is starting to work on, The Lady from Shanghai. 2046 hasn't even been released to the US yet (I'm seeing August 5th, 2005; UK rating of 12A, seems equivalent to PG-13). Tracking ... in the meantime check out the very cool, official 2046 website, including a high quality QuickTime trailer.