The Film and the Reality: Inside Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions

“The Film and the Reality: Inside Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions,” published in The China Chronicle on July 4, 2013

People are drawn to the Chungking Mansions for all kinds of reasons. Some people come to do business: Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, and Southeast Asians come to the Chungking Mansions en mass to trade cell phones and other items. Some people come to eat curry at one of the many Indian restaurants. Independent young travelers come to stay at the cheap guesthouses.

In 1993, director Wang Kar-wai came here to film Chungking Express. The colorful backdrop of this down and dirty building bustling with people of the world was the perfect setting for his independent masterwork that won the Best Picture at the 1995 Hong Kong Film Awards and established Wang as a leading figure in Hong Kong’s artistic second wave film movement.

Now I’m here at the Chungking Mansions, drawn by the alluring image of the mansions Wang created, if not for the actual Chungking Mansions themselves.

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Feature photo taken by Mitchell Blatt.