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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Tim
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#976 Post by Tim » Sat May 01, 2021 10:16 am

I decided to buy the new box in recognition and acceptance of its revisionist spirit, in the way that one might decide to read the New York edition of Henry James. I was helped by the fact that I have very good DVDs of the original films from various sources that I intend to hold onto (Tartan for the first two films, 2046 and ITMFL, AltoDVD in Korea for Chungking and Fallen Angels, Accent for another Fallen Angels, Mei Ah for another 2046, Artificial Eye for Happy Together). Amazon UK supplied me with the US edition of the box which, strangely, came in a custom package that Criterion had sent to a retailer as an advance display copy. The package had protective buffers at each end, the condition of the box inside was immaculate as a result, and the price was £25 less than the UK edition. Such a strange box design though: what is the point of the 'French fold' book with a whole lot of printing that one can't see? And yes, the package is too tall for my shelving. And won't the dagger closure get dog-eared? However I'm looking forward to the new versions, although I do suspect that they are going to age awkwardly, as I often think is true of contemporary cover art for old films, and maybe also the New York edition of Henry James. So it's a shame if the originals don't continue to be accessible, in some parts of the world at least.

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Der Spieler
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#977 Post by Der Spieler » Sat May 01, 2021 2:57 pm

Drucker wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:52 am
Hi fellow Criterionforumers. I wrote an article for MUBI Notebook that was published today.
Great piece! Timely too as I watched the recent restoration of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS yesterday and couldn't believe how ugly the film looked now. I would have loved to read that Ritrovata hit piece! :P

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tenia
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#978 Post by tenia » Sat May 01, 2021 6:24 pm

Nobody can do a simple hit piece without quickly stumbling into a much larger question within the current restoration industry. Hitting Ritrovata (or Eclair) means hitting hundreds of rightholders and dozens of "supervisions" clearly not seeing the final products but still letting their movies go like this as if not caring enough, while defending them means implictly that all the other labs aren't doing things right. There's no winner.
And there are also all those still defending the Ritrovata and Eclair gradings as faithful to the sources, or even faithful more generally speaking to the photochemical practices from back then, despite Ritrovata having explicitly confirmed to me 2 years ago now that no, their gradings are a combination of both the original colors plus their own recognizable signature on top of them.

I think the best way to settle this once and for all would be for a rich right-holder to give to several labs the exact same work (movie, elements, tech referent) to do without letting them know, publicize how the results look like (since they're highly likely to be vastly dissimilar), and let people try to guess what the elements they worked from looked like.
Last edited by tenia on Sun May 02, 2021 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Drucker
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#979 Post by Drucker » Sat May 01, 2021 10:57 pm

If I had more time and was truly eager for a curveball, the piece would have turned into an anti-Capitalist screed, as budgetary limitations and financial pressure have a bigger impact on this process than anything else! My favorite anecdote was that Steve Bearman wanted to work on getting the silent film tinting on The Great White Silence just right. He found that getting the appearance right, and not merely applying a simple "colorize the frame" setting took a decent amount of time, and he was working on a deadline of less than a week to get it done. I can't remember if he said he was given the extra few days to get it done, but I was shocked at how short the timeline was. It's pretty clear that while we can all name a handful of people who get this stuff right, the majority of people doing this work aren't going to be experts in physical film/often don't have a background having physical film/don't necessarily have an encyclopedic knowledge of film history that's going to allow for perfect QA.

I really learned so much and still felt like I barely scratched the surface. That's not to let certain bad actors off the hook, of course, but it's in many ways a job like any other.

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MichaelB
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#980 Post by MichaelB » Sun May 02, 2021 3:23 pm

tenia wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 6:24 pm
I think the best way to settle this once and for all would be for a rich right-holder to give to several labs the exact same work (movie, elements, tech referent) to do without letting them know, publicize how the results look like (since they're highly likely to be vastly dissimilar), and let people try to guess what the elements they worked from looked like.
Although of course this flags up another issue - films, especially colour films, have always looked subtly different in different territories; it's just that we never got the chance to compare them directly until very recently.

A case in point: Red Desert, where the BFI and Criterion took the same negative scan but did their own individual grading, using different archival reference prints, and so both releases look different from each other. There's no way of proving which is "correct", as the only three wholly reliable authorities are either dead (director, cinematographer) or have sadly gone blind (the colour timer, who may well have passed away since I heard that news a decade ago), and both labels were extremely conscientious in their research and determination to get it right.

We saw something similar with Hammer's Dracula, where it's alleged that its original US distributor back in 1958 deliberately boosted the colours in a way that the UK one didn't. Again, no-one would have been aware of this at the time, at least outside the industry itself, and Hammer wouldn't have cared: release versions of their films often differed from territory to territory, but they were in the business of making money rather than creating single unimpeachably definitive works.

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wishhersafeathome
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#981 Post by wishhersafeathome » Sun May 02, 2021 4:00 pm

Drucker wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 10:57 pm
That's not to let certain bad actors off the hook, of course, but it's in many ways a job like any other.
What do actors have to do with the color temperature of a film?

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Mr Sausage
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#982 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun May 02, 2021 4:04 pm

Bad actor = someone acting with bad intent.

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tenia
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#983 Post by tenia » Sun May 02, 2021 5:02 pm

Yes, actors as in active within this industry.
MichaelB wrote:
tenia wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 6:24 pm
I think the best way to settle this once and for all would be for a rich right-holder to give to several labs the exact same work (movie, elements, tech referent) to do without letting them know, publicize how the results look like (since they're highly likely to be vastly dissimilar), and let people try to guess what the elements they worked from looked like.
Although of course this flags up another issue - films, especially colour films, have always looked subtly different in different territories; it's just that we never got the chance to compare them directly until very recently.
I don't have issues with different restorations looking subtly different in different territories, and then in different restorations.
However, when looking at the current available examples, I'm quite certain that we're talking at all about this kind of subtlety. We've seen how Ritrovata graded their gialli or the Leone westerns, but also how Eclair has been grading 50 years of French cinema. Were Eclair to grade A fistful of dollars, it'll be as steely blue as their Claude Berri or Chabrol movies. And were Ritrovata to do some of those Pierre Richard movies, they'd look like The Bloodstained Butterfly.

There's nothing small or subtle between those. They're on the contrary highly recognizable because they're just that much apart and that's actually both part of the problem but also likely to be part of the answer as to where these signatures might be coming from. I have screencaps from 40 different Eclair restorations that look like it's from the same movie, and they all look nothing alike anything you'll find within about 80 Ritrovata restorations I can think of (which, in turn, will never be mistaken for an Eclair job).

On the other end, these signatures are also precisely erasing these kinds of small discrepencies, but also trumping the likely original differences between all those movies, all those styles, countries, shooting conditions, decade's habits, material types, etc, as if all those movies were actually part of the same corpus. The same way that the French movies' sound restorations was so filtered, I ended up thinking that was just how sound on French movies was captured (bad mics, I supposed), all those Eclair gradings now make it look like those French movies had the same colors and same blues especially for 50 years, like we couldn't do anything else, weren't aiming for something else. I highly doubt it.

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Drucker
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#984 Post by Drucker » Sun May 02, 2021 7:41 pm

Yes, to MichaelB's point, there is no one 'right answer' for the right look of a film given the infinite nuances that are possible with analogue film. However, to Tenia's point, there are definitely wrong looks.

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tenia
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#985 Post by tenia » Mon May 03, 2021 2:03 am

I do wonder though if printing inconsistencies used to be as intense it'd get one print looking like a Ritrovata job and one like an Eclair job. I doubt it but I can't say for sure either.

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wishhersafeathome
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#986 Post by wishhersafeathome » Mon May 03, 2021 8:42 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 4:04 pm
Bad actor = someone acting with bad intent.
Oh, I knew what it meant, I just need people to stop using such trendy, hackneyed language.

It devalues the words to use them so freely, and it minimizes incidents and behavior of real consequence when, for example, idiot newsreaders refer to terrorist individuals or states as "bad actors" instead of what they really are, which is unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit. There are hundreds of "bad actors" in the film and television "bizness" (some of whom actually win awards) -- should we start calling them "angels of death" or "spree killers" just because everyone seems to have gotten a mysterious memo from upstairs to do so?

Hell, might as well go full-NPR and begin every sentence of your statement with "So" followed shortly by a variation of "that being said" and end it with a gentle sigh.

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swo17
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#987 Post by swo17 » Mon May 03, 2021 8:55 pm

What

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DarkImbecile
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#988 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon May 03, 2021 9:06 pm

He’s saying don’t use absurd phrasings like ‘bad actor’ when you can keep it clear and simple and say ‘unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit’ instead. Try to keep up, swo…

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#989 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon May 03, 2021 11:01 pm

Dear wishforhersafeathome -- You ain't gonna make many friends here with a bad attitude like that.

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soundchaser
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#990 Post by soundchaser » Tue May 04, 2021 12:29 am

TIL Ritrovata’s color choices are an act of terrorism.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#991 Post by afilmcionado » Tue May 04, 2021 3:25 am

Lurker here. Since we’re on the topic of plugging our own articles, I also wrote a piece against the restorations, particularly Fallen Angels’: https://www.cinemaescapist.com/2021/01/ ... g-kar-wai/

And I never thanked cowboydan for the screenshots they shared way back in December! Thanks @cowboydan!

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Cash Flagg
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#992 Post by Cash Flagg » Tue May 04, 2021 5:59 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 11:01 pm
Dear wishforhersafeathome -- You ain't gonna make many friends here with a bad attitude like that.
I’m pretty sure they’re a recently-banned repeat offender.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#993 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue May 04, 2021 9:23 am

Cash -- I kind of sort of have the same feeling. Sad to think that some people get jollies from this sort of behavior.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#994 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue May 04, 2021 10:12 am

Imagine how utterly sad and pointless one’s life would have to be to take the time to repeatedly troll an internet forum (with obnoxious but not extreme or obscene behavior) over the course of several years; if that’s the case, let them get banned once every 6-12 months, if it gives their life brief glimmers of meaning (and helps keep them away from other people in real life).

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MichaelB
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#995 Post by MichaelB » Tue May 04, 2021 11:55 am

It's sadder if they're sockpuppets for people with reputations to protect (hence the sockpuppetry), and I can think of two such examples (one here, one elsewhere, in both cases many years ago) - unfortunately, in both cases they relaxed a little too much and gave the game away by betraying weirdly niche interests in combinations pretty much exclusively held by the people they were pretending not to be.

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