World of Wong Kar Wai

As Tears Go By

Part of a multi-title set


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With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema. Joined by such key collaborators as cinematographer Christopher Doyle; editor and production and costume designer William Chang Suk Ping; and actors Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Wong (or WKW, as he is often known) has written and directed films that have enraptured audiences and critics worldwide and inspired countless other filmmakers with their poetic moods and music, narrative and stylistic daring, and potent themes of alienation and memory. Whether they’re tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the seven films collected here are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist.

Picture 6/10

The Criterion Collection presents their latest director-centric box set, World of Wong Kar Wai, delivering seven of the filmmaker’s works all recently restored in 4K. The first dual-layer disc presents Wong’s first feature, As Tears Go By, in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. All of the 4K restorations are said to be sourced from the 35mm original negative.

As has become common knowledge since the theatrical releases of the new restorations and early reviews for this set (and comments around both) there are “issues” to be found, though they vary from title to title, with some rightfully calling for a *shrug* and others so drastic they severely change the look of the film. As Tears Go By probably falls somewhere in the middle.

One of the biggest issues across the titles is how the colours have been altered/enhanced, leading to very different looking films in some cases, leaning greener in a lot of cases. As Tears Go By shows that, though it comes off minor compared to the other films, and is more noticeable in certain scenes. Most daylight sequences aren’t as obvious, while darker sequences and many interiors (probably where fluorescent lights would be used) show the effect more clearly. To be honest, I didn’t find it all that bad on the whole, and though the look is a bit more modern, it suits the film.

The digital presentation leaves one wanting, though. The film looks to have been processed and filtered a bit, more than likely to manage and control grain, but this has led to some artifacts and a slightly more digital look. Grain can still be made out, and details are at least solid enough, the image never really looking waxy, but grain, when it’s more prominent, has a less natural, more digital and blocky look, especially in darker sequences. Grain can disappear in brighter scenes, leading to a flatter looking image. This filtering could also be playing into banding issues that are a pretty common occurrence throughout, and they’re incredibly obvious in the shadows, creating noticeable rings. It’s a shame, as the restoration work has cleaned up things quite well in terms of damage, with a handful of specs remaining, and if it had a more film-like look it could have maybe been one of the stand-outs in the set.

Audio 5/10

The film comes with a lossless PCM, single-channel monaural soundtrack. It has a very flat sound overall, dialogue with weak fidelity, sounding incredibly hollow, and both music and sound effects lacking anything I would call range. It’s all quite flat and one-note.

Extras 2/10

Though the set as a whole sports a decent—if somewhat underwhelming—selection of supplements, As Tears Go By sports very little: just the film’s original trailer and two alternate endings, running a few minutes each and both sourced from video. One provides the film with a more upbeat ending thanks to some flashbacks that are tacked on, while the other is pretty much the same as what we get, just with a few extra shots showing up after the film’s actual final shot.

I would have expected more for Wong’s first film but nope. It gets the shaft.


The image has room for improvement and there are next to no supplements. Not the most promising way to start things off.

Part of a multi-title set


Directed by: Wong Kar-wai
Year: 1988 | 1990 | 1994 | 1995 | 1997 | 2000 | 2004
Time: 98 | 95 | 102 | 99 | 96 | 98 | 128 min.
Series: The Criterion Collection
Licensors: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment  |  Media Asia Film  |  Block 2 Distribution
Release Date: March 23 2021
MSRP: $199.95
7 Discs | BD-50
1.66:1 ratio
1.85:1 ratio
2.35:1 ratio
2.39:1 ratio
Cantonese 1.0 PCM Mono
Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround
Subtitles: English
Region A
 Alternate Endings for As Tears Go By: The "Happy" Ending and Extended Ending   Trailer for As Tears Go By   Alternate version of Days of Being Wild featuring different edits of the film’s prologue and final scenes, on home video for the first time   2005 appearance at the National Film Theatre in London of Christopher Doyle recalling his work on Days of Being Wild   Excerpts from a 1994 British Film Institute audio interview with Maggie Cheung on her work in Days of Being Wild   Trailer for Days of Being Wild   2002 interview with cinematographer Christopher Doyle about his work on Chungking Express while revisiting locations used in the film   Episode excerpt from the BBC Television series Moving Pictures, featuring Wong Kar-wai and cinematographer Christopher Doyle   Deleted Scenes for Chungking Express   Re-release trailer for Chungking Express   New program featuring director Wong Kar-wai answering ten questions about his work asked by fellow artists   2002 interview featuring Christopher Doyle discussing the cinematography of Fallen Angels   Only You: Deleted scenes and interview with Wong Kar-wai   Whom You Miss: Deleted scenes and interview with Chen Man-lai   A Beautiful Ending: Behind-the-scenes   Re-release trailer for Fallen Angels   Buenos Aires Zero Degree: a 1999 documentary chronicling the making of Happy Together featuring interviews with director Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung as well as numerous deleted scenes   Re-release trailer for Happy Together   @ "In the Mood for Love," director Wong Kar-wai's documentary on the making of the film   Hua yang de nian hua, a 2000 short film by Wong   Program from 2012 on In the Mood for Love’s soundtrack   Interview and “cinema lesson” with Wong Kar-wai from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival   Press conference for In the Mood for Love from the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival   Deleted scenes for In the Mood for Love   Music Video for In the Mood for Love   Restoration Trailer for In the Mood for Love   Extended version of The Hand, a 2004 short film by Wong, available in the U.S. for the first time   Making of 2046: 2004 documentary detailing the making of the film and featuring interviews with director Wong Kar-wai, actors Chang Chen, Tony Leung, Faye Wong, Ziyi Zhang, and others   Promotional featurette for 2046   Ziyi Zhang: montage of behind-the-scenes footage from 2046 focusing on actor Ziyi Zhang as the character of Bai Ling   "Casta Diva" music video   Deleted Scenes for 2046   Trailer for 2046   World of Wong Kar Wai Trailer   Deluxe packaging, including a perfect-bound, French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note, and six collectible art prints