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Scenes I Go Back To: Fallen Angels

A fleeting, ephemeral image.

I have to confess that I actually don’t remember all that much of Fallen Angels, Wong Kar-Wai’s sequel (of sorts) to his wonderful Chungking Express. Perhaps that’s because Chungking Express is such a delightful and concise little film, whereas Fallen Angels always felt a bit more morose and sprawling to me.

However, the movie’s final scene — in which Michelle Reis and Takeshi Kaneshiro share a fleeting moment of connection while riding through a neon-drenched Hong Kong to the sounds of Yaz’s “Only You” as sung by the Flying Pickets (!) — remains firmly lodged within my subconscious.

Watch for the puff of smoke from Kaneshiro’s cigarette in the final seconds. It’s a fleeting, ephemeral image, and as such, is a perfect visual metaphor for human connection and existence, and the frailty of both — common themes in Wong Kar-Wai’s oeuvre.

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