Chungking express by wong kar wai

On Thursday I watched a film called Chungking Express by Wong Kar Wai. Because it was subtitled this left me with a dilemma. Because of my dyslexia usually if I see a film with subtitles I will not watch it. Stopping and pausing a film is the way that I would have to watch a subtitled film, as you can imagine you do not really get the jist of the story when you have to stop it every second. Because we were in a classroom environment there was no way I could stop a film. I tried reading the subtitles at first, I was very lucky if I’d got onto the third word of a sentence before the whole thing disappeared off the screen and turned into a different subtitle.

So I decided that I might as well watch the film as if it didn’t have any subtitles. I found myself picking up on body language, eye contact and expressions on the face. As I have performed since the age of three on the stage (acting, singing, dancing) I found these skills came in very useful when watching the film because I could understand why they were doing certain hand gestures or expressions in order to get across what they were trying to portray. As well as this the music and lighting helped me to understand the mood of each scene of the film.

I still got confused because the film seemed like it had two different stories about two different people. It seemed that there was a couple at the first half of the film, and then a different couple in the second half of the film. Did they link together? I am not sure. Maybe the subtitles could have given me a better understanding.

It was nice to know that I was not the only person who did not understand the film. The whole class came out confused and not really understanding what was meant to have happened in the film. At least I experienced a different way of watching a film, only with your eyes.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Chungking express by wong kar wai

  1. I find your experience fascinating Larissa, I never thought to take in a foreign language film this way, I’ve always been entirely reliant on the subtitles. I wasn’t massively impressed by Chungking Express, but I am interested to see more of Wong Kar Wai’s films. There’s quite a few to choose from, and seeing how (as you point out) lighting, music, and body language are all used to communicate the ‘feel’ of the scenes, I’m going to watch at least one of his films without subtitles. Thank you for sharing your experiences, your blog is engaging to read.

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