In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Chungking Express, we will discuss the meaning behind the movie’s title.
Why is the movie called Chungking Express?
The words “Chungking” and “Express” are never said together in Chungking Express. But there is both an obvious reason for this title and a symbolic one.
The obvious reason for the title is that each word refers to a key setting in the film. The movie’s first story featuring Cop 223 and the woman in the blonde wig takes place at Chungking Mansions, while the second story featuring Faye and Cop 663 takes place at Midnight Express. The former location is a sprawling, infamous building full of low-budget hotels and shops that used to be rife with criminal activity. While the second location is the restaurant where Faye works and Cope 663 orders his food and drink each night.
But there’s a deeper reason for this title. The “Chungking” in Chungking Mansions refers to the city of Chongqing—a municipality in Southwest China that is currently the fourth largest Chinese city by urban population. Meanwhile, “express” represents something that operates at high speed, such as an express train. These two words accurately capture the lives of the characters, who often feel lost in their giant city, who believe everything is passing by them much too fast. The title refers to the disorientation one feels living in an urban environment while trying to discover your identity, while trying to find true love.