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.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#876 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:50 pm

senseabove wrote:Sorry, Sausage. I wasn't trying to make you my punching bag, nor was I intending to "target" you or anyone. I was (sure, over-)reacting to several posts in the conversation, including ones from the last page by jegharfangetmigenmyg, barbarella satyricon, you, tenia, and MicahelB, to name a few, and I pulled your particular phrasing because it was a succinct and extreme expression of them.
Here’s the thing:

I don’t think that one phrase expresses any of their positions.

I don’t think a single one of them believes that having the original versions properly preserved and available in this boxset is anything less than the best outcome.

I still don’t know why you keep coming back to persuade us of things we already believe, except maybe on the mistaken assumption that dissent on one front means dissent on all fronts, especially your own pet front.

Not to worry. The archives won’t disappear because some internet people want to discuss how the idea of original intent can be knotty and full of interesting cases and issues.

User avatar
Altair
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: England

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#877 Post by Altair » Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:14 pm

Not to offer yet another example which demonstrates an artist's complex relationship to an 'original' artwork that they have created, but almost at the opposite end of the spectrum to Wong Kar Wai, is Taylor Swift's almost note-for-note recreation of her Fearless album which, like Kar Wai's new versions, are intended to replace the 2008 version of Fearless, yet Swfit's maneovure is to try and make the 'new' version almost identical to the previous version.

User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#878 Post by feihong » Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:41 pm

I think with Wong Kar-Wai this cutting would be easier to dismiss as "original intention" if we hadn't seen the Ashes of Time Redux first. That was a case in which Wong claimed there was damage to the original film negative, and that served as his justification for a total overhaul of that film. WKW even addresses the fact that people complained to him directly about the Redux cut in his restoration notes for the new movies––he dismisses all those criticisms right off the bat, essentially claiming it all boiled down to people having watched bootleg versions of the film, and that their memories for those bootlegs informing their judgement of his later Redux. But the Redux was really a complete reworking of the original film, made in the pseudo-classy tone of In the Mood for Love––an approach that WKW hadn't developed yet in 1994. Changes like the re-orchestrating of the score altered the mood of the film completely (with Yo-Yo Ma's anodyne cello substituting for Frankie Chan's screaming electric guitar). Thirteen years on, the original Ashes of Time has not been restored; if you want to stream Ashes of Time, or buy a blu ray, you'll get the Redux version. So Wong has effectively erased the original cut of the film. No new viewer is going to pick up an old, washed-out, non-anamorphic DVD of the movie to see the theatrical cut. And in this earlier case, Wong similarly thumbed his nose at restoration practice and decided not to go with the next generation of available elements, but instead to rework his movie to fit his new tastes. I think in that case a side-by-side comparison really makes it clear how much this reworking was a deliberate aesthetic reconception of the film, presented disingenuously to the public as "better," "preferred by the director," and even in some cases, "original intent." To be fair, Wong has become a little more subtle in presenting his desire to remake his films and have everyone embrace only the remake. In his director notes on the set, he admits that these are redone to suit his contemporary liking. But it's interesting he still falls back on various justifications for the individual changes as "I originally wanted it this way," and "the negative was damaged." He doesn't mention archival restoration practice, and I wonder if he knows much about it. I think he is rather committed to another approach, where he is the painter stepping into the gallery and touching up his already hung painting to fit his current mood.

Of course, it will make no difference for first-time viewers, since this new version is all they'll have seen. I think Criterion––and Wong himself––are counting on this set being a sort of introduction to––and definitive statement on––Wong's work for many casual cinephiles who have heard about Wong's films in the past, but who have not sought them out before. Having 2046 and The Hand in there helps to lure in longer-term WKW fans. For those of us who have become alienated from Wong's films by WKW's own penchant to change them after–the–fact, I think Wong and Criterion rightly assume this miniscule fan-base can be railroaded into submission––and certainly that will be the case. The game plan is following largely the same path as Wong's plan for Ashes of Time; supplant the old version with the new. It is ironic that a filmmaker so fascinated with characters trying to recapture a lost moment is so adamant that we wholeheartedly accept a new version of these films as the only version there ever should have been, even though it runs contrary to the moments we experienced in the past. For some of us, that "lost moment" spans the whole of the Hong Kong new wave, and includes isolated screenings beyond that time––where we saw the film in various ways, and yet still came away with a general sense of how the film was presented that runs contrary to what Wong is insisting here. There is a weird kind of contempt for the audience's memories of Wong's films present in his handling of these "restorations," and in his statement on the changes he has made. For those of us who dislike the new changes, our situation is eerily similar to the scene in Chungking Express where Takeshi Kaneshiro tries to get the expired cans of pineapple the store has already removed from the shelves. I suppose we look just as foolish to most people. But the changes Wong has made on this set do alter the qualities of the films––in some cases irrevocably, since we'll be hard-pressed to maintain what pre-existing copies of Fallen Angels are out there, and every new edition will be this dastardly reformatting of the film. And I think what this makes clear for some of us is how resigned Wong actually is in the viewpoint he presents in his films. The past cannot be recaptured, only recreated. In a way, I suppose Wong is being very true to that belief. But it seems a strange philosophy to ascribe to the act of preserving film. If anything, Wong's actions now underline how much that belief that the past can't be recaptured is a pose he is already sure of when he embarks upon these films. It makes the movies themselves seem a little more rigged for melancholy than they ever seemed before.

The most destructive new editing and formatting is reserved for Fallen Angels, of course, but I think the changes to Chungking Express also affect the way the narrative, the mood, the themes play out, as well. The bullet sounds behind the title imply a bullet-ridden crime caper, and the new color-correction deepens and darkens shadows, making for a Fincher-looking neo-noir appearance for the film which was not quite there in the past. The intention is to push Chungking Express into neo-noir territory––whereas the 90s presentation of the film had it riding the line a lot more, offering hints of neo-noir, but with the very 90s-era sense of out-dated genres changing and blending and fading into the background, and the idea that an off-duty cop meeting an ex-girlfriend at a convenience store and getting a vague sense of closure being more important than guns and handcuffs and money schemes. The softer light leaking and blurring in many shots is gone, because of the significant contrast bump. In a lot of movies this wouldn't matter so much, but there was a very dreamy 90s bleariness to the movie, which was aided by the airy look to the cinematography (particularly in the section shot by Doyle), and I feel it very lessened by this new look. Maybe this is simply my patently incorrect memory of the film, but this was something that was present on version after version of the film I saw, from the Rolling Thunder VHS to the Ocean Shores VCD and DVD, to the Mei Ah DVD, to the Rolling Thunder DVD, to the 35mm screenings I've seen of the film, to the original Criterion Blu-ray. Similarly, in the 10 times I saw In the Mood for Love in cinemas in its initial run, in retrospectives, in the French DVD of the film, the Criterion DVD of the film, the previous Criterion blu ray––in none of those sources did the film look tinted green. I suppose all these different version could come from the same incorrect source, as per Memories of Murder, but these constituted versions of the film we all saw and embraced––these are the versions that made Wong an international film figure. In the case of Fallen Angels, I don't see any justification for not including the original theatrical presentation, because the alterations there are enormous. The other changes are certainly of a less total impact, but when I consider them next to the fatally damaging Ashes of Time Redux (that movie was good in its original version, and nothing special in its later reworking––and the regard people have for the film has, I think, lessened as the film has become more accessible in only the Redux form), it looks like a pattern of fiddling and rejiggering that I think is of a piece with Tony Rayns' assessment that Wong has always been trying to recapture the artistic success of Chungking Express––but that he goes about it with a kind of insecurity that means he shoots and shoots and edits and re-edits, trying to re-engineer a success that was once spontaneous in its nature, constantly frustrated by the lesser results, and driven to tool and retool the films until they reach his current measure of success––regardless of the experience of audiences. I think after In the Mood for Love became successful worldwide that film became the new benchmark, resulting in fewer and fewer new films or an increasingly perfectionist nature. I think the effort to remake his previous films is a part of that impulse as well. And it's frustrating that he can't let it be, because Wong seems to demand that we can't have our experience of the film preserved. Compromises may have been made in the making of his films; producers wanted more action in Ashes of Time, perhaps, giving us in the process a framing device that flatters much-increased meaning and clarity on the rest of the picture; the decision to scrap the extreme stretching of the image in Fallen Angels was made perhaps because they decided it would make the theatrical audience sick to watch that way––and the end result was a movie that was actually watchable. These are the kinds of compromises every filmmaker makes, and though I feel it goes a little against the grain of orthodox auteurship to say, these compromises and concessions more often improve the watchability of the films than detract from it. It strikes me that watching the new version of Fallen Angels is an extreme, absurd exercise of devotion to auteur theory, proving you approve only of what the director says they deeply wanted, even if it hurts your eyes to see it (like staring for minutes on end at fish-eye security cam footage, or maybe like trying to find joy in the colorized version of It's a Wonderful Life). If Wong would merely deign to let Criterion include original versions of the films alongside the new restorations, I wouldn't have anything much to say about it; I wouldn't even be upset. But Wong's attitude is as unwavering as mine; he wants these new versions to be the only versions people see or think about. As to the idea that burned-in subtitle tracks constitute a version of the film different than intended, I would say that those exist in a different plane in most cases than the generalized experience of the film. We don't process subtitles as part of the picture, and I think we tend to edit them out of our memory when recounting the film, or reliving the experience. We subconsciously know that authorial intent isn't directly behind these subtitles––they were required by law on all these films; though, of course, Tsui Hark used to brag about how fast he got them made and how little he spent on them, so there is some authorial element to them, I suppose. Either way, I don't think they affect our way of experiencing the film in the same way that stretching the film out of ratio does, or changing the cut of the movie, or even changing the colors in the picture. And to my eyes, these new versions of the movies are different enough to make the whole experience of this new box set slightly bogus. It's very hard to accept Wong's explanations; they seem as disingenuous as his explanation for Ashes of Time Redux. And it looks likely that the effect the Redux had is set to happen again here; that these new versions of the films will simply supplant the older versions––that they'll eventually be the only versions available. 60 years from now, if I live to be 100 or so, these or some newer restoration will be the version of the films everyone sees, and the context of seeing these films in the 90s will be entirely moot, I suppose. But I don't know. I feel less certain about that. Because I think it is possible to watch films from 60 years ago, say, and still understand something of the mood, the feeling, the ideas of an era. The bunker hill sequences in Joseph Losey's "M" are still fascinating in their presentation, partly because they are not being presented in any nostalgic sense; they are the city as the filmmakers are experiencing it. And I think there's a value to that experience of the time that is being erased in a subtle way by Wong's tinkering––very much the way George Lucas' tinkering with Star Wars brings in new visual inspirations, that didn't exist when he made the original films. I think the Star Wars prequels and restorations were highly influenced by James Gurney's book, Dinotopia, in a way that the original films were not––and that influence is all over the additions to the films. What that has done is limit the way it's possible to experience the films as an unadulterated document of their time period. And that's a loss I feel the WKW movies are sustaining here, as well.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#879 Post by Drucker » Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:23 pm

Altair wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:14 pm
Not to offer yet another example which demonstrates an artist's complex relationship to an 'original' artwork that they have created, but almost at the opposite end of the spectrum to Wong Kar Wai, is Taylor Swift's almost note-for-note recreation of her Fearless album which, like Kar Wai's new versions, are intended to replace the 2008 version of Fearless, yet Swfit's maneovure is to try and make the 'new' version almost identical to the previous version.
Ha! I brought this up to my cousin who is a huge Taylor Swift fan to get a non-music/film snob POV. How would she feel if the only available versions of the songs she has come to love are the re-recordings. "Well at least I have the original CDs!" was her reaction, and she agreed it would be a bummer if new generations of Swift fans were no longer exposed to the originals. (not that that's happening at the moment, but it could)

Take that Wong Kar Wai.

User avatar
Finch
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#880 Post by Finch » Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:31 pm

The weirdly non committal stance that a lot of reviewers are taking with this set, choosing to neither condemn nor outright support WKW's revisions doesn't make me optimistic that anyone is going to challenge WKW on the notion that, say, he wanted the green tint on In The Mood For Love all along. If that had been the case and he had really cared, he'd have ensured this was on the original prints in 2000, including the Cannes edit. But since we have no record of green tints or statements from him from twenty-one years ago, and the only prior instance of the green tint having been on a 2013 disc that was mentioned on the previous page, I'm inclined to call bullshit on him if he now goes on record saying he wanted the green tint all along. I'd rather he'd be upfront and just say, I changed my mind about the film's look and now like the green tint better (same reason I don't quite buy Bong's reported statement that Memories of Murder was always meant to look as dark as it does in the new restoration). This disingenuous shit just adds insult to the injury of trying to pretend his original choices should be ignored and erased from the historical record.

If WKW made all those changes (on all non Fallen Angels films) because he was worried how the films would play to audiences of 2020-21 unaltered, what's he going to do if critics and audiences in the next five to ten years form a consensus that he should have left well alone? (Though I suppose, his thinking probably reflects more closely George Lucas's, take it or leave it).

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#881 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:43 pm

fei hong wrote:If anything, Wong's actions now underline how much that belief that the past can't be recaptured is a pose he is already sure of when he embarks upon these films. It makes the movies themselves seem a little more rigged for melancholy than they ever seemed before.
I don't know. Wong wouldn't be the first person to see precisely how things affect other people but be blind to the same things in himself.

User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#882 Post by feihong » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:11 pm

I guess I think of it a little in the way of the Zach Snyder "we're already dead" theme. It's like Wong begins from the premise that the past can't be recaptured. It works in the stories he tells, and seems authentic, but on home video, in restorations, I think there is in essence a way the past for the most part can be recaptured. True, we may process that replication differently than we did upon previous viewings, but what is there in the film can essentially continue and be perpetuated, and be relived on later viewings. I do seem to encounter Chungking Express in the same way I did at the time when I watch it again. I might see little things that I hadn't noticed before, or I might come to feel differently about particular elements of the movie than I did when I first watched it, but I can see it in the same way I did in the past. It may be simple on my part to see it that way, but Wong's talk about it not being the same river does seem disingenuous to me for that reason.

User avatar
senseabove
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:07 am

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#883 Post by senseabove » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:13 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:50 pm
Here’s the thing:

I don’t think that one phrase expresses any of their positions.

I don’t think a single one of them believes that having the original versions properly preserved and available in this boxset is anything less than the best outcome.

I still don’t know why you keep coming back to persuade us of things we already believe, except maybe on the mistaken assumption that dissent on one front means dissent on all fronts, especially your own pet front.

Not to worry. The archives won’t disappear because some internet people want to discuss how the idea of original intent can be knotty and full of interesting cases and issues.
I never said anyone should shut up about original intent and restorations, nor did I attack anyone for raising interesting cases of retroactive modification or complex cases where no definitive answer is possible. I did try to clarify my previous statement to say that actually, on second thought, I agree with you to a very specific, limited extent, and when that didn't go over well, to apologize to you for poorly constructing my own thoughts in such a way that you felt targeted—despite my multiple, explicit statements that I was not targeting you, only using one of your phrases as a decontextualized "succinct and extreme" version of several ideas expressed in part and in various forms by several people.

So to clarify yet again: I was tracing a straight, admittedly absurd line from "I loved it on the shitty DVD I saw two decades ago so..." and "who's to say which restoration has more authority" and "lots of people will never know the difference" and "film has never been a uniform medium!" to "the original is a phantom," and another admittedly absurd line from there to "let's crop, 'scope and colorize this because why not."

Forgive me for connecting those dots with an enthusiasm you apparently find offensive in a discussion where the director has explicitly and publicly drawn a line from "that DVD you loved two decades ago was shitty" to "the original is a phantom" to "I want to crop, 'scope, and colorize this film and you can't stop me." If I say I'm arguing with WKW, does that makes you feel better? Or must I publicly profess an ambivalence as vehement as your own in order to soothe your persecution complex?

If me "coming back" to this discussion forum to clarify and elaborate thoughts I previously expressed is so consistently disagreeable to you, I've got an incredibly simple, painless solution for you.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#884 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:40 pm

senseabove wrote:Forgive me for connecting those dots with an enthusiasm you apparently find offensive in a discussion where the director has explicitly and publicly drawn a line from "that DVD you loved two decades ago was shitty" to "the original is a phantom" to "I want to crop, 'scope, and colorize this film and you can't stop me." If I say I'm arguing with WKW, does that makes you feel better? Or must I publicly profess an ambivalence as vehement as your own in order to soothe your persecution complex?
I mostly don't want to be confronted with the ethics of archival work every time I post in here. Nothing personal, but I got the point the first time and nothing I've said in here is against ethical archival practise or has much to do with archives in general. And, yeah, if you're going to come in making passionate, even heated arguments, you should make clear who you're directing them at. Because the people whose words you're directly responding to are apt to feel it's them.

I like you a lot as a poster. You're a smart guy, you're articulate, and I have fond memories of our Young Pope discussions. I'd rather we not bicker back and forth any more. I won't put you on any Foes list for two reasons: I don't use that function on principal, as a mod. But more importantly I'd be blocking all your excellent posts that I enjoy reading. Babies and bathwater and all that.

User avatar
senseabove
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:07 am

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#885 Post by senseabove » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:11 pm

Likewise on all fronts, Sausage. Here's the thing: I stated multiple times that I was using your phrase as a jumping off point to address a general slide in the direction of the thread. When it was clear to me that that wasn't clear enough to you and I'd upset you, I tried to clarify it again and I apologized, straight-up, no snark, no fancy footwork, and you rounded on me with sarcasm and dismissal. I'd rather not bicker anymore either, but I'm also not really in the mood to apologize for anything after what the first one got me.

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#886 Post by swo17 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:37 pm

Drucker wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:23 pm
Altair wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:14 pm
Not to offer yet another example which demonstrates an artist's complex relationship to an 'original' artwork that they have created, but almost at the opposite end of the spectrum to Wong Kar Wai, is Taylor Swift's almost note-for-note recreation of her Fearless album which, like Kar Wai's new versions, are intended to replace the 2008 version of Fearless, yet Swfit's maneovure is to try and make the 'new' version almost identical to the previous version.
Ha! I brought this up to my cousin who is a huge Taylor Swift fan to get a non-music/film snob POV. How would she feel if the only available versions of the songs she has come to love are the re-recordings. "Well at least I have the original CDs!" was her reaction, and she agreed it would be a bummer if new generations of Swift fans were no longer exposed to the originals. (not that that's happening at the moment, but it could)

Take that Wong Kar Wai.
I've talked about this at length with my daughter, who is a huge fan. She's actually re-rerecording the bulk of her back catalogue, all but her last few albums, and it's an act of liberation from her rightsholder. I don't know all the details, but apparently she doesn't own the songs and isn't being allowed to perform them in concert anymore. Presumably the old versions will remain available as long as the old rightsholder wants to turn a profit, but if you want to support the artist, you buy the new versions directly from her. To me, both this and the act of re-creating her music as faithfully as possible to the original versions assigns an ineffable value to it, one which WKW is effectively scrubbing away from his own work. I think it's very laudable what she's doing. You might make a similar argument about how Weird Al faithfully recreates the instrumentation of hit songs before adding his own lyrics to them. There's a certain respect for the art and the artist there, regarding at least an element of the original recording as sacrosanct, that adds value (to both versions, probably) rather than takes away, i.e. this is the original, which I honor, and here is something new that complements it. All of these acts of revisiting the past are interesting in and of themselves. WKW is an artist and this is who he is and what he is doing now. This boxset is arguably the debut of his newest piece of work. It's of interest. I don't begrudge anyone relating to these films in their new forms. The problem comes from the neglect or erasure of their original forms. It's not a war crime or anything, but it does intrinsically lessen the value of both the art and the artist. And I can make my own complete WKW collection picking up all of cowboydan's recommendations as well as, yes, the Criterion set. But most people aren't crazy/rich enough to do that

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#887 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:58 pm

senseabove wrote: I stated multiple times that I was using your phrase as a jumping off point to address a general slide in the direction of the thread.
I know. I didn't think this was a personal crusade. I was responding as someone involved in and helping direct that slide. No worries.

User avatar
Altair
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: England

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#888 Post by Altair » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:20 pm

swo17 wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:37 pm
Drucker wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:23 pm
Altair wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:14 pm
Not to offer yet another example which demonstrates an artist's complex relationship to an 'original' artwork that they have created, but almost at the opposite end of the spectrum to Wong Kar Wai, is Taylor Swift's almost note-for-note recreation of her Fearless album which, like Kar Wai's new versions, are intended to replace the 2008 version of Fearless, yet Swfit's maneovure is to try and make the 'new' version almost identical to the previous version.
Ha! I brought this up to my cousin who is a huge Taylor Swift fan to get a non-music/film snob POV. How would she feel if the only available versions of the songs she has come to love are the re-recordings. "Well at least I have the original CDs!" was her reaction, and she agreed it would be a bummer if new generations of Swift fans were no longer exposed to the originals. (not that that's happening at the moment, but it could)

Take that Wong Kar Wai.
I've talked about this at length with my daughter, who is a huge fan. She's actually re-rerecording the bulk of her back catalogue, all but her last few albums, and it's an act of liberation from her rightsholder. I don't know all the details, but apparently she doesn't own the songs and isn't being allowed to perform them in concert anymore. Presumably the old versions will remain available as long as the old rightsholder wants to turn a profit, but if you want to support the artist, you buy the new versions directly from her. To me, both this and the act of re-creating her music as faithfully as possible to the original versions assigns an ineffable value to it, one which WKW is effectively scrubbing away from his own work. I think it's very laudable what she's doing. You might make a similar argument about how Weird Al faithfully recreates the instrumentation of hit songs before adding his own lyrics to them. There's a certain respect for the art and the artist there, regarding at least an element of the original recording as sacrosanct, that adds value (to both versions, probably) rather than takes away, i.e. this is the original, which I honor, and here is something new that complements it. All of these acts of revisiting the past are interesting in and of themselves. WKW is an artist and this is who he is and what he is doing now. This boxset is arguably the debut of his newest piece of work. It's of interest. I don't begrudge anyone relating to these films in their new forms. The problem comes from the neglect or erasure of their original forms. It's not a war crime or anything, but it does intrinsically lessen the value of both the art and the artist. And I can make my own complete WKW collection picking up all of cowboydan's recommendations as well as, yes, the Criterion set. But most people aren't crazy/rich enough to do that
Right I don't think there's anything wrong with her intention to re-record her back catalogue in order to take back control of it, rights-wise (and I wonder if one can compare this to Ford's constant re-making of Rio Bravo?), and the fact that both versions are easily available means it's not the same situation as Wong Kar Wai's films, but there is also something frustrating about an artist like Swift obsessively recording (essentially) covers of her past songs rather than moving forward with new music, especiallly after 2020 when she produced her strongest material yet with Folklore and Evermore. But I digress from the topic on hand.

User avatar
senseabove
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:07 am

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#889 Post by senseabove » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:26 am

This is hazily recollected from an explainer about the various kinds of music rights in Swift's particular situation that I read a while back and unfortunately can't put my hands on right now but: she owns the "song idea," which gives her a right of approval on any uses of the original masters in things like movies, commercials, etc., but has no control over them beyond that. No say in rereleases of them, no legal say in negotiating rights, royalties, etc. All she can do is say yes/no, you can put my words and music alongside those images. Since the label (which bought them years after the fact) has refused to play ball with her on selling her control of her own masters, she's issued a blanket refusal for those rights, so neither she nor the label is getting any royalties on commercial uses in ads, movies, etc. Beyond that, the label gets to decide what to do with the masters and how involved they want her to be. However, since she owns the song "idea," she can still record a new version of it and do whatever she wants with that master.

I have no strong feelings either way about her music, new or old, and haven't listened to it beyond casual encounters in the wild, so I have no idea how successful the endeavor is, but from what I've read, she's trying to recreate the originals as closely as possible. That in itself is a fascinating contrast to the WKW situation: she's wresting control of her work while also doing her best to be loyal to the fans who already know and love the music.

User avatar
dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#890 Post by dustybooks » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:33 am

Fans of '50s rock & roll will be familiar with older attempts by artists who were swindled out of royalties on their hits or were simply in need of an influx of cash to record "soundalike" versions of their own songs for new labels. With very few exceptions, the "new" versions always took the life out of their original counterparts. I'm not really a Swift fan but I'll be interested to hear how her fans feel about the rerecordings, since while the motivation is good the end result is potentially the same thing that became a bane to collectors in the early CD era. (edit: and even now, to an extent; last time I checked, it was much easier to find the Everly Brothers' Warner Bros. rerecords of their early Boudleaux Bryant classics than the actual hits from the Cadence label).

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#891 Post by swo17 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:37 am

From my limited vantage point, the reception seems to be that the newer versions are an improvement because her voice now sounds more mature (though frankly I can't tell much of a difference) and some have found it quite moving to hear her repeat lines penned in her youth coming from where she is now

User avatar
dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#892 Post by dustybooks » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:41 am

That also makes sense -- I like some of Frank Sinatra's '50s revisions of his older material for similar reasons.

Zot!
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:09 am

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#893 Post by Zot! » Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:44 am

Unlike these musicians, I can't imagine Wong Kar Wai had anything to gain financially or had cause to exact revenge against former business partners, but it sure feels akin to being one of Ms. Swift's innumerable exes on a "diss track".
feihong wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:41 pm
For those of us who dislike the new changes, our situation is eerily similar to the scene in Chungking Express where Takeshi Kaneshiro tries to get the expired cans of pineapple the store has already removed from the shelves. I suppose we look just as foolish to most people.
Indeed, ironic that films that are as wistfully melancholic and concerned with memory and nostalgia, have met such a fate.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#894 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:40 am

swo17 wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:37 am
From my limited vantage point, the reception seems to be that the newer versions are an improvement because her voice now sounds more mature (though frankly I can't tell much of a difference) and some have found it quite moving to hear her repeat lines penned in her youth coming from where she is now
...although it's not quite the same as comparing Paul McCartney's Yesterday with Ray Charles's, which adds a huge amount to the song because it's sung by someone old enough to have actually had plenty of yesterdays to look back on wistfully.


User avatar
bdsweeney
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:09 pm

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#896 Post by bdsweeney » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:32 pm

Thanks for that. I recall somewhere earlier in this thread that it looked like there were some different edits used in some scenes (like Cop 663's memory of the flight attendant in bed with the toy plane). I wonder if that new edit actually eventuated in the re-released movie, the maker of the comparison video didn't pick it up ... or maybe my memory of the earlier post is simply incorrect.

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

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#897 Post by cowboydan » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:46 pm

bdsweeney wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:32 pm
Thanks for that. I recall somewhere earlier in this thread that it looked like there were some different edits used in some scenes (like Cop 663's memory of the flight attendant in bed with the toy plane). I wonder if that new edit actually eventuated in the re-released movie, the maker of the comparison video didn't pick it up ... or maybe my memory of the earlier post is simply incorrect.
I was the one that posted about this. I had incorrectly assumed that the clip used in the trailer would be the same footage that would be used in the restored feature. It turned out that the trailer and the feature use 2 different takes. The original version also did this (using an alternate take in the trailer). So basically the new version has the same take as the old version.

On a different note, if that clip is really sourced from the new BD, then it verified what I witnessed on the virtual screening: the audio is pitched up. I can't tell from the clip if this is due to a fps speed up, or if the audio is just a slightly higher pitch whilst maintaining the same speed. I can hear it both during music, and also with spoken lines. I'm not sure which one is "correct", the '08 or the '21 audio. The best way to figure that out would probably be to listen to the song "Dreams" on the film, and simultaneously listen to the song from an accurate source such as Spotify and see which one matches. I'd need to bust out my second pair of headphones in order to check for myself.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#898 Post by tenia » Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:26 am

Looks like a job for Moshrom !

User avatar
Number Forty-Eight
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:01 pm

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#899 Post by Number Forty-Eight » Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:10 am

I keep looking at the films in the box and this release brings a lot of contradictory feelings.

On one hand, I'm interested in seeing improved 4K sourced versions of the films. On the other hand, Fallen Angels is the jumping the shark point where I will probably end off getting rid of the set and not watch the other discs. What was on WKW's mind?

Regarding Taylor Swift, she is at the height, arguably, of her talent, so those re-recordings ends up being better, that's the general fans consensus.

Whereas for any old rocker or WKW, they are people way past their prime and glory when they revisit the early works, so the end results is often disappointing.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#900 Post by MichaelB » Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:36 am

Conversely, I'm looking forward to the new Fallen Angels perhaps more than anything else in this set.

(I have the old Kino BD, so it's not as though I can't turn the clock back any time I want.)

Post Reply