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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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#201 Post by whaleallright » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:23 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:49 pm
I suppose the one question that should also be raised is what happens when these new versions become the only versions readily available and people's collective experiences of these films come from these new versions? Not something I like thinking about all that much.
That's super depressing. I've taught Chungking Express several times and each time a few students absolutely adore it. I'm glad I've held onto a copy of the old Criterion blu-ray, but most instructors won't have access to that.

I think feihong is onto something when he suggests that Wong's incessant revisions to his films come from a place of insecurity. I think the same thing about Lucas. Both seem mortified by the idea that their films will no longer seem "current," but their notions of what constitutes "current" are so cramped (and, ironically, outdated). Granted, there's (probably) no CGI band in the new version of Happy Together, but the images that feihong linked look pretty awful.

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knives
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#202 Post by knives » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:27 pm

And yet everyone love Michael Mann.

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#203 Post by whaleallright » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:29 pm

I like some of his films a lot but his "director's cuts" are almost invariably worse than the theatrical releases—I think many people are of this opinion.

cowboydan
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:27 pm

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#204 Post by cowboydan » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:32 pm

Most or all of these changes are likely to affect the Korean 4k UHD boxset that is supposed to come from Nova Media at some point. I would love to be wrong about that though.

Also, it's kind of ironic to me that once we saw the new greenish color grading of the In the Mood For Love I asked myself "Where did the green come from? It wasn't there before!". Now that I've seen shots of the Fallen Angels restoration, I can see that green was removed from it's picture. Taken from one film and injected into another/kidding. Someone else made a joke that ItMFL looks like it takes place in the Matrix now.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#205 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:03 pm

It's kind of strange how those notes boast how In the Mood for Love now has the aspect ratio that you all remember from its original theatrical run, yet it also has a whole lot of green that sure as hell wasn't there before.
Big Ben wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:49 pm
I suppose the one question that should also be raised is what happens when these new versions become the only versions readily available and people's collective experiences of these films come from these new versions? Not something I like thinking about all that much.
It does raise their value quite a bit and not just in monetary terms. For example, I've always had mixed feelings about Happy Together which always felt too inchoate for my tastes despite its virtues, but now I wish I had a copy from Kino just to be able to revisit and re-evaluate it as it once was.

artfilmfan
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:11 pm

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#206 Post by artfilmfan » Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:55 pm

I was going to skip this box set because I did not want to spend all that money for the only title that I really want which is Days of Being Wild (on Blu ray). Seeing that Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love will be in 1.66:1 aspect ratio gives me second thought. I would love to have these two titles on Blu ray with this aspect ratio.

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soundchaser
Leave Her to Beaver
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#207 Post by soundchaser » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:03 am

I think you might be the first person to say that the changes are making you *more* likely to buy this set. (I’d really, really suggest looking at the screenshots from In the Mood for Love posted upthread if you haven’t yet.

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feihong
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#208 Post by feihong » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:11 am

whaleallright wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:29 pm
Re: Michael Mann: I like some of his films a lot but his "director's cuts" are almost invariably worse than the theatrical releases—I think many people are of this opinion.
I'll second this. Miami Vice is the film of his I like watching the most. I used to like the director's cut, as it put together more storyline for the film, teased out the Havana segment a little longer, and added music on the soundtrack. And in time I realize I hadn't really known much of what was changed from theatrical to home video besides the opening scene and the addition of that cover of "In the Air Tonight" in the ending scenes. But I got the French blu ray of the film recently, and saw the theatrical cut for the first time in forever––there are a lot of changes––scenes cut and added, but also a lot of alternate takes and different timing within the edits, different sound editing, and of course, I realized all over again that the abrupt theatrical opening was just far, far superior to what was in the director's cut on home video. The feeling is right. The energy is there. The film is a lot scrappier––in the director's cut Mann goes for a more elegant cutting from moment to moment, as well as from scene to scene. But that smoothness ends up working against the overall feel and presentation of the film. Honestly, this practice has begun to sour me on these people and their films. I can understand that Blade Runner and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid were genuinely mangled by studio interference, and that further cuts of both movies give them a lot of clarity and purpose they originally lacked. But parade of directors who have presented after-the-fact revisions as "director's cuts" when they largely have that authority in the first place is kind of a plague at this point. I guess Blackhat seems better in Mann's preferred cut that most of us can't see? Of course, the stuff that got me down on Blackhat is stuff that's part of Mann's original conception of the movie, like imagining Chris Hemsworth as a sexy badass...computer...hacker?...or the dull concept of stripping the thriller of technology so that it ends in a knifefight? No director's cut really changes all of that. Personally, I've come round I think to finding these changes mostly unnecessary and oftentimes damaging to the effect of the original work that was so fresh and affecting in its original state––and I'd say that goes for WKW as well as for Mann. As for George Lucas, thankfully, I stopped caring long ago.

cowboydan
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#209 Post by cowboydan » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:24 am

artfilmfan wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:55 pm
I was going to skip this box set because I did not want to spend all that money for the only title that I really want which is Days of Being Wild (on Blu ray). Seeing that Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love will be in 1.66:1 aspect ratio gives me second thought. I would love to have these two titles on Blu ray with this aspect ratio.
The standalone releases of both of those films are already in 1.66:1. Of course Chungking Express is OOP though. I think by now, most people who have seen Chungking Ex. and ItMFL have seen them in 1.66:1, on the Criterion Channel and Criterion releases. The 1.85:1 and 1.78:1 versions are maybe half of the older bluray and DVD releases from various regions. The only US release not in 1.66:1 is the Rolling Thunder (Quentin Tarantino Presents) Chungking Express DVD which is in 1.85:1. (I can't comment on any VHS or Laserdisc releases)

artfilmfan
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#210 Post by artfilmfan » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:40 am

cowboydan wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:24 am
artfilmfan wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:55 pm
I was going to skip this box set because I did not want to spend all that money for the only title that I really want which is Days of Being Wild (on Blu ray). Seeing that Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love will be in 1.66:1 aspect ratio gives me second thought. I would love to have these two titles on Blu ray with this aspect ratio.
The standalone releases of both of those films are already in 1.66:1. Of course Chungking Express is OOP though. I think by now, most people who have seen Chungking Ex. and ItMFL have seen them in 1.66:1, on the Criterion Channel and Criterion releases. The 1.85:1 and 1.78:1 versions are maybe half of the older bluray and DVD releases from various regions. The only US release not in 1.66:1 is the Rolling Thunder (Quentin Tarantino Presents) Chungking Express DVD which is in 1.85:1. (I can't comment on any VHS or Laserdisc releases)
Thanks for pointing that out. I do have the Criterion Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love Blu rays but forgot what aspect ratio they were in. These two and Days of Being Wild are the only WKW films that I really like. In fact, I love In the Mood for Love. And I love seeing films in 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Now I can go with my original plan which was to skip this box set. I’ll continue to watch my HK DVD of Days of Being Wild.

cowboydan
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:27 pm

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#211 Post by cowboydan » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:01 am

artfilmfan wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:40 am
cowboydan wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:24 am
artfilmfan wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:55 pm
I was going to skip this box set because I did not want to spend all that money for the only title that I really want which is Days of Being Wild (on Blu ray). Seeing that Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love will be in 1.66:1 aspect ratio gives me second thought. I would love to have these two titles on Blu ray with this aspect ratio.
The standalone releases of both of those films are already in 1.66:1. Of course Chungking Express is OOP though. I think by now, most people who have seen Chungking Ex. and ItMFL have seen them in 1.66:1, on the Criterion Channel and Criterion releases. The 1.85:1 and 1.78:1 versions are maybe half of the older bluray and DVD releases from various regions. The only US release not in 1.66:1 is the Rolling Thunder (Quentin Tarantino Presents) Chungking Express DVD which is in 1.85:1. (I can't comment on any VHS or Laserdisc releases)
Thanks for pointing that out. I do have the Criterion Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love Blu rays but forgot what aspect ratio they were in. These two and Days of Being Wild are the only WKW films that I really like. In fact, I love In the Mood for Love. And I love seeing films in 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Now I can go with my original plan which was to skip this box set. I’ll continue to watch my HK DVD of Days of Being Wild.
You're welcome.

The existing Megastar blu-ray of Days of Being Wild is worth the upgrade IMO. The PQ is quite good and it contains the same audio track as the HK DVD. You can compare it to the DVD here http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompar ... ngwild.htm

Unfortunately, it retains the same awkwardly translated subtitles. It's still worth the upgrade if you're not going to pick up the boxset.
https://www.amazon.com/Days-Being-Wild- ... 233&sr=8-1

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Amazing Goose
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#212 Post by Amazing Goose » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:03 am

swo17 wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:57 pm
You mean the part where it says "as its maker would want it seen"?
Well, they've been eschewing the "editions that offer the highest technical quality" for a while now in the age of 4K, so I think it's safe to say that it's more of a "Mission suggestion" than "Mission statement."

Chalk me up as one who is feeling a little sick about selling my Chungking Express blu-ray back in January (this is what I get for being "proactive" with my collecting...) My only solace is that I haven't seen too much commotion about it on here yet, so I'm holding hope that any changes will be minimal. Still, it sounds like I'll be Googling "Wong Kar-wai despecialized editions" before too long...

artfilmfan
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#213 Post by artfilmfan » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:43 am

cowboydan,

Yes, I’ve been looking into getting that Megastar Blu ray of Days Of Being Wild. The translation in the subtitles that you mentioned is what has been holding me back from purchasing.

cowboydan
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:27 pm

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#214 Post by cowboydan » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:59 am

Amazing Goose wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:03 am
swo17 wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:57 pm
You mean the part where it says "as its maker would want it seen"?
Chalk me up as one who is feeling a little sick about selling my Chungking Express blu-ray back in January (this is what I get for being "proactive" with my collecting...) My only solace is that I haven't seen too much commotion about it on here yet, so I'm holding hope that any changes will be minimal. Still, it sounds like I'll be Googling "Wong Kar-wai despecialized editions" before too long...
The Chungking Express restoration (along with the rest of the retrospective) is going to be available starting on Friday. I don't remember there being much footage of Chungking Express in the retrospective trailer to draw comparisons with. But come Friday we should start seeing posts on twitter and elsewhere if there are any notable changes aside from a PQ improvement. I'm sure we're all praying that it retains each detail of its original glory.

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feihong
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#215 Post by feihong » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:01 am

In the past I tried to make a despecialized Ashes of Time for myself, cutting bits of the anamorphic Tf1 disc and the Redux and the Mei Ah DVD together to make it all work. I ended up coming up with what seemed like much better things to do with my time––i.e., my own creative ventures. I can't imagine such a pursuit bearing much fruit, really. Watching the cut-up and reconstituted version would be its own very jarring experience, because of the huge quality differences between sources and the constant cutting between sources which would have to happen.

In the case of the other movies, it looks like Fallen Angels is the main victim. I doubt if there's enough salvageable material in this new revision to build a mostly 4k-scanned version of the movie, without some major technical work. Even if you could manipulate the image into being the original frame dimensions, the grain on the restoration would be vertically-squished in order to do it––which I think would end up looking really odd. From the sound of things a despecialized version of Happy Together could end up fairly do-able.

But I would bet we are approaching the last moment where those original WKW blu ray releases are at all affordable. If Criterion were to package the original versions with these new ones on their release, it would be in the previous level of quality, and not in the 4k sourcing of the restorations, since the restorations have been undertaken with all these changes being baked in.

I think swo17 is going to be proven right in this analysis:
swo17 wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:36 pm
2. You bury the original versions. Fans resent you and your changes. They probably don't even give them much of a chance. You've planted a seed saying that the original versions lack merit and it eventually bears fruit in a devaluation of both you and your work.
It's going to cheapen the WKW brand as a whole. Something similar happened in 2012 to the Corto Maltese comics, where they were published in English for the first time after being out of print for decades, and they went with a colorized version of the book that had been cut into pieces so that the pages had a different dimension and could be marketed in big box bookstores. The Italian publisher was caught off-guard by the public's visceral reaction against the doctored book; they didn't really seem to take into account the context under which this was being published; in Europe, you could buy both the original black and white editions of the Corto Maltese comics, and the color editions, which were reformatted for bookstores. If you preferred the original, you had access to it. In the U.S., previous Corto Maltese editions were going for hundreds of dollars on ebay––they were hard to find, and the presence of only the mangled edition meant that it was hard for comic fans––the main consumers of this almost 50-year-old comic––to process what great and important work the books were in this bowdlerized version (panels moved to different pages, breaking up the page-turning rhythm of the writing, some panels were cut in two, some were zoomed in so that they pixellized––there was an incredible amount of problems with that edition). There wasn't really another way to experience the Corto Maltese books as they had originally been experienced––and the publisher, Rizzoli, defended their choice in a similar way to what Wong is doing. They claimed that this colorized edition had been specifically approved by Hugo Pratt, the writer/artist, before his death. Then someone––I think it was Kurt Busiek––pointed out that Pratt approved that edition for large-market booksellers, and that the original black and white edition in its initial layout was still selling all over Europe when Pratt approved this new edition.

Either Wong doesn't get that previous editions of his work are going out of print, or he really believes that these new decisions he's making are better, and that people should like them more. But his tone smacks of a kind of ego-driven auterism that really rubs me the wrong way. It's like he's saying the viewer's previous experience of the film is invalid, and that it ought to remain buried in the past. But that's not really how we view movies. It's that stupid "you can't step into the same river twice" thing he says. The whole point of home video is that you can, in fact, step into the same river twice. For that matter, mass-produced film works in the same way. And restoration should really be about recapturing what was there. What Wong is doing is just tinkering around the edges of what he's previously made; But in the case of Fallen Angels, and maybe Happy Together, his tinkering is so obvious it will be hard to ignore the results.

cowboydan
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#216 Post by cowboydan » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:18 am

I know the odds are probably against us, but to give us a little bit of hope from precedent, there are at least 3 instances of Criterion providing multiple versions of a film on one release.

Mr Arkadin "New, restored high-definition digital transfers of three versions of the film: the Corinth Version, Confidential Report, and a new comprehensive version"

Andrei Rublev "New high-definition digital restoration of the director’s preferred 183-minute cut... &
The Passion According to Andrei, the original 205-minute version of the film" I'm not positive but I think the original version is "unrestored". Someone can correct me if that's not accurate.

On the Waterfront Presented in 3 different aspect ratios. 1.85:1, 1.66:1, & 1.33:1.

I'm going to write J. Mulvaney an email pleading them to at least attempt to include the original Fallen Angels.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#217 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:25 am

cowboydan wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:18 am
I'm going to write J. Mulvaney an email pleading them to at least attempt to include the original Fallen Angels.
I doubt they'll be able to comment on anything that has yet to be formally announced, but all hands on deck

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Boosmahn
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#218 Post by Boosmahn » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:26 am

About the river analogy: isn't that phrase saying the river changes naturally over time? Here, it's more like a dam is being built in the middle of it!

One of the changes that I absolutely cannot wrap my head around is the reformatting of the credits. However, saying that this is "a reminder to [the] audience that [they] are the restored versions" feels odd to me. This practically acknowledges that the originals and revisions are separate entities, and suggests that Wong Kar-wai wants the viewer to separate them. Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, but that gives me hope for the original versions being included.

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Amazing Goose
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#219 Post by Amazing Goose » Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:00 am

Is it likely that the current In the Mood For Love blu will go OOP once this travesty of a box is released?

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dwk
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#220 Post by dwk » Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:09 am

I assume it depends on if the WKW box gets a spine number. All the Bergman, Fellini, and Varda releases remain in print, while the solo Tati titles did not.

Orlac
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#221 Post by Orlac » Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:58 am

From memory, the Tatis went OOP a while before the boxset, due to Criterion losing their Canal+ licenses.

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swo17
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#222 Post by swo17 » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:02 pm

Correct

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Drucker
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#223 Post by Drucker » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:20 pm

The market for individual releases of In The Mood For Love, Seventh Seal, and 8 1/2 doesn't dry up just because there's a nice big box set with a different version of it.

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Amazing Goose
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#224 Post by Amazing Goose » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:22 pm

I was just wondering if a new release of director’s preferred version would cause the old version to go out of print.

If not, then there’s even a possibility that Chungking Express’s individual release could come back.


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swo17
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#225 Post by swo17 » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:33 pm

If the boxset only has the new version, I would think it more likely for Criterion to release a standalone of that

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