“FALLEN ANGELS”: ON CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE
Carlos Trabulo

As one watches Fallen Angels (1995), one may start to compare it to the similar, but yet significantly distinct Chungking Express (1994). Both directed by Wong Kar-wai, their affinity isn’t a mere coincidence. Kar-wai had the initial intention of these four intertwining stories to be told in one single movie.

By comparing and analyzing the similarities, and more importantly, their divergences, the most apparent element of contrast is the part of the day on which the narrative is set on. As two sides from the same coin, these two films represent the night and the day of its shared elements: Hong Kong and a search for love. It’s clear how this dichotomy infects both narratives: in the day of Chungking Express, we encounter ways of thinking and feeling that are usually associated with this part of the day, such as positivity and optimism, which strikingly contrast with the suffering and anguish of Fallen Angels night time.

Taking a closer look at Fallen Angels, three technical elements may stand out: the saturated colors, the erratic camera movements, and the soundtrack choices. These otherwise separate facets seem to bond and attach effortlessly. It’s clear how carefully all of these elements were chosen; they were thought through to create and convey not only the specific feelings of specific scenes but also to establish, as a whole, a concrete, harmonious and mesmerizing atmosphere.