World of Wong Kar Wai

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Number Forty-Eight
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#951 Post by Number Forty-Eight » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:04 am

I suppose the director think the differences boost the value of this release as instead of putting the past films in a mausoleum, it refreshes them.

It's not as if anyone buying this, didn't already have the original versions in their possession.

It makes for an interesting take on his past works, seeing his body of work from his current view of it. That's a progressive view of the Blu-ray medium.

So sure, I prefer all those crazy blues on the original As Tears Go By. But watching the "new" versions makes for an interesting contrast.

Orlac
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#952 Post by Orlac » Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:57 am

Number Forty-Eight wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:04 am

It's not as if anyone buying this, didn't already have the original versions in their possession.
I don't. The original Happy Together and Chungking Express BDs are OOP so I've not been able to get them.

alexrinse
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#953 Post by alexrinse » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:10 am

cowboydan wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:54 pm
swo17 wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:02 pm
So would someone care to summarize the ideal releases to pick up to put together one's own WKW collection?
This is so hard to do because most of the releases have some sort of issue, if not being OOP.

As Tears Go By: Megastar BD is an HD scan but it's completely marred with DNR. Edit: Tartan UK DVD retains more of the film's original qualities. The new restoration is probably the best one since the visuals look immaculate and it contains the original mono track. The only downsides are the greenish tint, and in some scenes the blue fluorescent light filter is completely removed.

Days of Being Wild: The Megastar BD is quite good looking in true HD. Downsides are the poorly translated subtitles and the audio tracks are 5.1 and 7.1 remixes. The new restoration is good since it has the original mono track. But the color grading looks way too green and digitally filtered.

Chungking Express: Criterion standalone (OOP) is the only version with the OAR and English subs, but it doesn't contain the original audio track. That probably the best option. The Japanese release is the only other BD in the OAR, and its the only BD to contain the original 2.0 audio track BUT it doesn't have English subs.

Fallen Angels: Kino (OOP) is the best one. It has great PQ, the most extras, but no original mono track (none of the BDs do, only some of the DVDs). Artificial Eye's PQ is SLIGHTLY less than the Kino but probably indistinguishable to most. The 5.1 track is messed up (w/ phaser effect) so only the 2.0 track is good (downmixed from the good 5.1 remix). It only has 1 extra; an interview with Doyle. Korean EOS (OOP) release is same PQ as AE but no extras..

Ashes of Time Mei Ah DVD for theatrical, Artificial Eye or the upcoming Korean Nova Media for the Redux .

Happy Together Kino and EOS editions are good but OOP. They're just missing the original mono track. The Japanese release has the mono in 2.0 but again there's no English subs.

In the Mood For Love Criterion standalone is perfect and in print!

2046 The new version in the boxset. or the US Sony DVD.

My Blueberry Nights Japanese BD for Region A. Studiocanal BD for Region B.

The Grandmaster 3 different cuts. Starz/Anchor Bay for the US Cut (kind of a poor transfer and color grade), HK or Taiwan releases for the Chinese Cut (Hong Kong Cut, same thing) but this has really bad compression, and then the Korean release is the International Cut. The Korean is the BEST transfer. It makes the film look incredible. It's the only International Cut release with English subs. Unfortunately its OOP and extremely difficult to find. I bought it from AsianDB months ago for $50, then they upped the price to $99 http://www.asiandb.com/m/detail.php?num=20522 . Otherwise you're waiting for an ebay listing or digging through google in the Korean language maybe? I've done that with Taiwanese releases before (searching in Chinese instead of English) and have gotten lucky.
Amazing work - what about the French box-set? Anyone go the low-down on how they compare against the above versions?

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MichaelB
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#954 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:57 am

Number Forty-Eight wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:04 am
It makes for an interesting take on his past works, seeing his body of work from his current view of it. That's a progressive view of the Blu-ray medium.
I daresay the relevant materials no longer exist, but it would in theory be possible to release a Blu-ray offering all seventeen endings that Krzysztof Kieślowski prepared for The Double Life of Veronique, which he quite seriously tried to talk his producer into releasing (he liked the idea that you'd potentially get a different ending every time you saw the film), only to be given a firm no on the grounds that the producer was only prepared to pay for a single printing interpositive/internegative. Kieślowski conceded that that was a fair point, and completed the film with just the one ending.

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The Pachyderminator
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#955 Post by The Pachyderminator » Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:53 am

Number Forty-Eight wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:04 am
It's not as if anyone buying this, didn't already have the original versions in their possession.
This is a very silly thing to say given that the old versions have been out of print for years in some cases. I have the Artificial Eye Fallen Angels which I was lucky to get for $50, and I'm keeping an eye out for Happy Together and Chungking Express, but it won't be easy or cheap to get them.

Even if it was true as regards current WKW fans, one of the purposes of a Criterion release is to expose new viewers to a filmmaker's work. Someone who blind-buys this set, or has seen only one or two of the films, isn't going to hunt down a lot of rare and expensive discs at the same time. The new ones will be all they know.

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barbarella satyricon
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#956 Post by barbarella satyricon » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:36 am

If anyone’s still keeping score in this very fraught thread, I agree with every point in The Pachyderminator’s response.

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MichaelB
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#957 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:45 am

Number Forty-Eight wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:04 am
It's not as if anyone buying this, didn't already have the original versions in their possession.
I owned just one Ingmar Bergman Blu-ray before I bought the Criterion box - not least because of pervasive rumours that such a box was in the offing.

I'm lucky in that I do have previous versions of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and In the Mood for Love, thanks to being around when they were originally released a decade or more ago. But what about someone younger, or who wasn't Blu-ray compatible back then, or someone who didn't discover WKW's films until the recent promotional push?

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Brian C
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#958 Post by Brian C » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:55 am

Or someone who just never bought them for whatever random reason. There are a million movies I’d like to own but still haven’t bought.

alexrinse
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#959 Post by alexrinse » Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:44 pm

The Pachyderminator wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:53 am
Number Forty-Eight wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:04 am
It's not as if anyone buying this, didn't already have the original versions in their possession.
This is a very silly thing to say given that the old versions have been out of print for years in some cases. I have the Artificial Eye Fallen Angels which I was lucky to get for $50, and I'm keeping an eye out for Happy Together and Chungking Express, but it won't be easy or cheap to get them.

Even if it was true as regards current WKW fans, one of the purposes of a Criterion release is to expose new viewers to a filmmaker's work. Someone who blind-buys this set, or has seen only one or two of the films, isn't going to hunt down a lot of rare and expensive discs at the same time. The new ones will be all they know.
Indeed. I have:

ATGB on UK VHS
Happy Together on HK VCD
ITMFL on French DVD
Chungking on UK VHS and UK DVD in a set with Fallen Angels
Fallen Angels as mentioned and on UK BD
Ashes of Time on HK VCD and UK redux BD
2046 on some or other DVD

You pick and choose your upgrades and as your tastes broaden and change you might be forgiven to de-prioritise a contemporary film-maker.

alexrinse
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#960 Post by alexrinse » Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:45 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:45 am
Number Forty-Eight wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:04 am
It's not as if anyone buying this, didn't already have the original versions in their possession.
I owned just one Ingmar Bergman Blu-ray before I bought the Criterion box - not least because of pervasive rumours that such a box was in the offing.

I'm lucky in that I do have previous versions of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and In the Mood for Love, thanks to being around when they were originally released a decade or more ago. But what about someone younger, or who wasn't Blu-ray compatible back then, or someone who didn't discover WKW's films until the recent promotional push?
I don't know where you are based, but if the UK BD of Chungking Express is any good to you, you can pick it up for about GBP 32 off CEX - much cheaper than Ebay. If you're outside the UK you'll need to enlist a friend.

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Mr Sausage
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World of Wong Kar Wai

#961 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:48 pm

I’d always meant to pick up the Criterion Wong blurays, but never got around to it. Never thought there’d be a time limit. When the whole boxset controversy came up, I spent time tracking down the films from the set I’d yet to see from various libraries around the city on the assumption that future chances to see the originals were going to become scarcer and scarcer, and already were more money and trouble to buy for a filmmaker I wasn’t passionate about. As it stands I could only find the Ashes of Time redux. I wouldn’t know how to even begin finding the original cut. I think that film is a good test case for what’ll happen to Wong’s other revisions, even among cinephiles and art house devotees, especially given it’s in the nature of home video formats to become outdated.

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schellenbergk
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#962 Post by schellenbergk » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:17 pm

So - I’m wondering what you all think about the extended version of “The Hand” - it was apparently greatly extended for its appearance here (on the “2046” disc).

I find it a substantial work - clocking in at 56 minutes it’s fully 2/3 the length of “Chunking Express.” I don’t usually care for “shorts” but I’m not sure this is one. Too long to be a short and too short to be a feature.

It’s a fascinating story. A pleasant surprise. IMO it’s the third best film in the set, after “CE” and “ITMFL”. Don’t overlook it!

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#963 Post by The Narrator Returns » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:31 pm

I'd seen the Eros cut a few times before and liked it a lot already, but this new version reveals it as a major work of probably my favorite period of Wong's. I'm not even sure what exactly was added (I'm pretty sure the dumpling scene is new but that's about it), but I can't imagine a shorter version that even slightly interferes into how this plays with time; the no-man's-land running time between short and feature is exactly right for something that's both patient and covering jarringly long amounts of time.

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wishhersafeathome
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#964 Post by wishhersafeathome » Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:34 pm

schellenbergk wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:17 pm
I find it a substantial work - clocking in at 56 minutes it’s fully 2/3 the length of “Chunking Express.” I don’t usually care for “shorts” but I’m not sure this is one. Too long to be a short and too short to be a feature.
The Academy (stand up straight, you) defines a short as anything up to 40 minutes. Not so sure that makes anything longer than 40 minutes a "feature" but I'll take it. I'll totally accept Zero for Conduct and all the Boetticher westerns and a bunch of WC Fields and Detour exactly as they are. 40- 90 min is a great length for films.

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Number Forty-Eight
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#965 Post by Number Forty-Eight » Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:35 am

For Ashes Of Time you have to look for the Mei Ah DVD (which is a port of the LD), and the TF1 DVD from France, which often pops up in second hand stores.

They both look like the pits, but they are the original HK and International cuts.

I say any other old version of WKW works, you can either find used if you're patient, or grab at the local library depending the country you live in. In France, WKW films are present in older editions in most the cities libraries as he is very popular.

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MichaelB
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#966 Post by MichaelB » Fri Apr 23, 2021 9:11 am

wishhersafeathome wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:34 pm
schellenbergk wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:17 pm
I find it a substantial work - clocking in at 56 minutes it’s fully 2/3 the length of “Chunking Express.” I don’t usually care for “shorts” but I’m not sure this is one. Too long to be a short and too short to be a feature.
The Academy (stand up straight, you) defines a short as anything up to 40 minutes. Not so sure that makes anything longer than 40 minutes a "feature" but I'll take it. I'll totally accept Zero for Conduct and all the Boetticher westerns and a bunch of WC Fields and Detour exactly as they are. 40- 90 min is a great length for films.
When the BFI Production Board started backing more ambitious projects than shorts that really were short, the plan was to produce a series of mini-features at around the 50-minute mark - which explains the running time of some of the early work of Bill Douglas, Terence Davies, Peter Greenaway and even Tony Scott (Loving Memory). The idea at the time was to take advantage of the legally mandated quota system that required British cinemas to devote a minimum percentage of their programming to British films by releasing them as mini-features that could play as double-bill supports, but the rationale for that evaporated a decade later when the quota system was abolished - which is why the Board started backing full-length features at the turn of the 1980s. (Double bills in mainstream cinemas died out at roughly the same time, which was a shame as it was a great way of catching up with comparatively recent titles that were unlikely to make it onto the rep circuit.)

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Grand Wazoo
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#967 Post by Grand Wazoo » Fri Apr 23, 2021 1:49 pm

wishhersafeathome wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:34 pm
schellenbergk wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:17 pm
I find it a substantial work - clocking in at 56 minutes it’s fully 2/3 the length of “Chunking Express.” I don’t usually care for “shorts” but I’m not sure this is one. Too long to be a short and too short to be a feature.
The Academy (stand up straight, you) defines a short as anything up to 40 minutes. Not so sure that makes anything longer than 40 minutes a "feature" but I'll take it. I'll totally accept Zero for Conduct and all the Boetticher westerns and a bunch of WC Fields and Detour exactly as they are. 40- 90 min is a great length for films.
This year the Grand Jury prize for Narrative Feature at Slamdance went to the 45 minute Taipei Suicide Story. Well deserved too, it's a great first feature that is the perfect length for its story.

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schellenbergk
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#968 Post by schellenbergk » Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:28 pm

Thanks all. Wish there was a cinematic equivalent of “novella” - “featurette”??

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therewillbeblus
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#969 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:38 pm

It's a blurry line for a descriptor. Some films ~40 min read like features to me (Renoir's Partie de campagne always feels like a feature despite being unfinished and often described as a featurette) and some longer than that feel like shorts. Jean Eustache's work comes to mind- The Mother and the Whore seems to be his first feature while his other 40+ min films that preceded it function as long shorts, and I believe they're often described as such, but I imagine his first long "feature" will be ineligible for the upcoming list project on that technicality.

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Drucker
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#970 Post by Drucker » Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:52 am

Hi fellow Criterionforumers. I wrote an article for MUBI Notebook that was published today. I did some research and tried to get to the bottom of just why there is so much variation in terms of quality when we see home video/film restorations today. I sort of set out to write a hit piece on Ritrovata, but through a number of conversations found the issue more interesting and nuanced than I was expecting.

Hope you read and enjoy. Thanks so much to our own James Steffan, Tenia, and David Mackenzie for speaking to me about the issue!

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swo17
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#971 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:21 am

Cool, congratulations!

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hearthesilence
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#972 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:45 am

NICE! Congrats and thank you, it's an issue that really needed a good write-up.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#973 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:57 am

Very nice.

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soundchaser
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#974 Post by soundchaser » Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:10 pm

Great piece, Drucker! I hope it gets the audience it deserves; it could serve as a strong primer for lots of folks just getting into the home video scene.

ftsoh
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#975 Post by ftsoh » Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:34 pm

Any member in Hong Kong?
There will be a screening of In the Mood for Love on May 8 in iSQUARE with a post-screening Q&A on the restoration with the film colorist and manager from L’Immagine Ritrovata.

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