Wong Kar Wei has made a series of disappointing films since he became a world-beating director; it would be hard to raise too much enthusiasm for 2046, My Blueberry Nights or even the chaotic The Grandmaster. Better to return to 1994’s sublime Chunking Express, a two part story that exudes humanity in every frame. The first story concerns Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro), who has just broken up with his girlfriend. His police duties are interspersed with melancholy as he hunts down tins with an expiration date before his breakup date. If the first story details unrequited love, the second is pure romance. Cop 663 (Tony Leung) breaks up with his air-stewardess girlfriend, and leaves their keys at a local fast-food bar to be picked up. They fall into the hands of Faye (Faye Wong), who breaks into the policeman’s apartments and makes subtle changes in the hope that he’ll recognise her love. With the Mammas and the Papas’ Californian Dreams and a cover of The Cranberries ‘ Dreams on the soundtrack, Chunking Express is a miracle of cinema, a sweet-hearted lightheaded meditation of the ups and down of romantic love that leaves the audience walking on air.
Although his early career was distinguished by tense Eurothrillers like Perversion, A Lizard in a Women’s Skin, The Psychic and Don’t Torture The Duckling, Lucio Fulci’s name will be forever associated with his embrace of gore in the late 70’s and early eighties. The derogatory description ‘Ful-shit’ was coined, but many of his attempts to follow up the success of Zombi (1979) can be seen to have values beyond just sensation. After an eerie prologue, The Beyond sees Catriona McColl unwittingly opening the gates of Hell in a South Louisiana setting, and that means the undead in various stages of decomposition, but it’s the dreamlike logic and often beautiful visuals that stay in the mind; there’s a strange poetry at work between the gross-out shocks. That this one banned film is making up the weight on free movie channel Crackle demonstrates how far the climate for horror has changed.