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

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#151 Post by feihong » Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:20 pm

This trailer popped up on my Youtube immediately afterwards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtum6XVH3HI

Slightly different musical cues, but mostly the same footage, only a) not restored, and b) in its original aspect ratio. I really don't get why they thought this new reframing would be a good idea.

I think it's highly, highly unlikely they'll include some kind of restored version with the original framing on the same disc. This new version is the restoration. There won't be some alternative framing of the same restoration. This is just how it's going to be now. Because in the modern era cinemascope is totally in and hip and cool, maybe, and 1.85:1 is wonky and worthless. Forget what was in the shot before, because we'll just cut that out, or the freaking dimensions of a face or body, which we're willing to stretch beyond all reason; this is what's cool now. Apparently we just have to deal with it.

This is a really capricious move by a filmmaker who should have left his older work well enough alone. It's not going to age well, and it's going to make the film less relevant than it was before as a result. The stretching especially will be something people grow to hate, I think, and no one is going to have good memories of this in the future.

yoshimori
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#152 Post by yoshimori » Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:54 pm

> I really don't get why they thought this new reframing would be a good idea.

Well, again, as I mentioned before, a widescreen Fallen Angels is not a new idea. What we're seeing now is (at least closer to) what Wong and Doyle thought they would do with the film when they were in production. They shot the movie in 1.66:1 with a wide angle lens with the express intention of processing the shots through an anamorphic lens so as to stretch the space in the frame.

Here's WKW himself, from an interview he did with Peter Brunette after the 1995 Toronto IFF screening of Fallen Angels that caused such a stir. Brunette remarks on the distortion the 6.5mm lens caused on the face of the actresses and asked whether Wong asked their permission to shoot them in such a way. Wong said "No, I didn't have to". Then

WKW: And after that, after the first day [of shooting], we saw that it [the lens distortion] was great. Because the perspective is totally different. It feels far away and yet so close. The people seem to be apart, but in fact they are very near. So actually, it fits the content. Actually, we wanted to go even further, so we shot the movie in 1.66 ratio, thinking that we would eventually project it through an anamorphic lens, which is widescreen.

PB: To spread it out even more.

WKW: Yes, and I thought it looked good. And Hong Kong seemed to be ten times bigger. There was a lot of space, but I wasn't sure, and so I had it projected in a theater for myself, as a test. Every little movement on the screen was so dramatic that I realized it might be unbearable for the audience. So we just kept it the original way, which is the version you saw, projected in a normal way, not anamorphic.
Last edited by yoshimori on Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Finch
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#153 Post by Finch » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:17 am

I've only seen the film once a very long time ago and didn't like it but based on the restoration trailer and the French trailer with the original aspect ratio, I found the widescreen one way too tight. Tempted to go for the AE Blu-ray while it's still on the market in the hope I'll like the film better this time.

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feihong
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#154 Post by feihong » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:53 am

Stretching the image after the fact doesn't make more lens distortion; it makes entropic picture distortion, which looks like a mistake. The lens distortion presents the image in what is still a proportional visual; proportional, that is, to the curvilinear perspective the lens creates. Stretching the image beyond that doesn't stretch the breadth of the curvilinear envelope. It just pulls everything horizontally out of proportion. And it looks grotesque. Even after hearing all this about their initial plan, I don't get why they'd want to do this. Especially since Wong says he decided against it at the time because it was visually hard to track, and clearly it was overwhelming on a large screen. Why wasn't there anybody there to talk him out of this decision?

Wong does seem to do something like this with a small amount of footage in 2046––presumably some of the earliest footage shot, with Bird Tongchai McIntyre. That footage is clearly stretched like crazy to get it into the cinemascope aspect ratio of the rest of the film, but the footage is a brief snippet visualized from the author character's novel, and as such it has a feeling that is kind of sort of okay. It's in context of the story, and it's very brief. To take this whole movie and do this...why's it going to be easier to stomach now than it was in the 90s?

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tenia
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#155 Post by tenia » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:28 am

I just hope it also won't be thoroughly DNRed because that's also currently very in and hype in Asia. Hopefully, In the Mood For Love is representative of how they dealt with filmstock qualities since it looked quite nice and untouched in this regard, but who knows.

yoshimori
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#156 Post by yoshimori » Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:05 pm

feihong wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:53 am
Stretching the image after the fact doesn't make more lens distortion
I'm pretty sure Wong et al know this.
feihong wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:53 am
it makes entropic picture distortion, which looks like a mistake.
"Mistake" is, I guess, in the eye of the beholder. What we know for sure is that WKW said he thought the stretching distortion test "looked good". And, obviously, that he's approved the new version of the film, whatever effects that's entailed.
feihong wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:53 am
... Wong says he decided against it at the time because it was visually hard to track, and clearly it was overwhelming on a large screen. Why wasn't there anybody there to talk him out of this decision?
Since we've got no report of the decision-making process, it's impossible to know now what happened at the stretching-test screening and after. Having been in hundreds of production meetings, I suspect, though, that it's not as simple as the "Wong saw it alone in a theater, decided it was unworkable, and no one dared question him". Rather, I'd think, we should take Wong at his word that he himself thought there were plusses (looked great) and cons (potential audience bearability problems) and that opinions of other relevant production personnel who undoubtedly also saw the tests - I know Doyle did, for example, and I'd be surprised if there weren't at least half a dozen others - were both individually conflicted (seeing pros and cons) and different from each other in the degree to which they thought the experiment should be continued. We, here, can characterize the eventual decision not to implement this strategy as we like - one may think Wong & Co came to their senses; another, that they wimped out, possibly for commercial considerations - but at least re Wong, he's indicated he has always wanted to do something like this.
Last edited by yoshimori on Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:16 pm, edited 4 times in total.

bluesforyou
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#157 Post by bluesforyou » Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:32 pm

But they didn't stretch this using anamorphic lenses. It was stretched digitally. So its not really about original intent anymore.

yoshimori
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#158 Post by yoshimori » Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:54 pm

I'm not sure, of course, how much work has been done and how. I'd be flabbergasted, though, if any post work was done on this or any other show that wasn't digital. In any case, I'm not a fundamentalist in any of the ways others seem to be here - accepting no variation from some divinely-gifted theatrical release, or maybe accepting only changes involving original intent, however that's determined, and then only if the modes of enacting those changes are limited to tools originally available to the creators, etc.

I guess I have two points, both of which I've made before - so I'll try to stop after this effort - but the first of which was apparently unclear. So first, much of the talk of radical "revisionism" here seems to ignore the filmmakers' thinking about this film at the time of production. And second - way more important for me, but probably utterly irrelevant to almost everyone else - I personally think that the newly manipulated shots in the Thai trailer, linked on the previous page, look amazing. I can't wait to see this version of the film ... and won't be surprised at all if I find it superior to the original. There's no question in my mind that the few shots in the trailer are superior to their original versions for me. And I say that as someone for whom Fallen Angels is one of his favorite dozen or so films.

cowboydan
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#159 Post by cowboydan » Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:45 pm

I just noticed a couple things.

I know that they're just trailers, but the audio on the new Thai trailer sounds different. Specifically, ~20 second mark when he starts shooting, it sounds like very modern Hollywood gunfight audio that utilizes panning. But on the Accent Films trailer it sounds very 90's, thinner, and with less/no panning. Is this an example of the difference between the 5.1 track and the 2.0 (original?) track, or is it possibly temp audio for the trailer?? I think I've only watched it with the 5.1 (on the Korean BD), and now I want to get the AE because it has both audio tracks in addition to being on a BD-50 instead of a BD-25 and having a superior bitrate.

I also just now realized that there are different cuts of this film. According to blu-ray.com and imdb: the Korean BD is 96 min. which would suggest it being (what imdb lists as) the German cut or the French cut. The AE BD is 99 min. which seems to be the longest. The HK is 97 min. Does anybody know what is cut out in the 96 and 97 minute cuts?? Also, it appears that the new 4k restored version is of the 99 minute cut.

edit: Maybe nothing is "cut out"? I just noticed in the trailer that some alternative takes were used. In the very first shot when the woman is putting the coin the jukebox, the angle of the camera is completely different and some things are in focus in one trailer but not the other. You could speculate that this due to the restoration but I don't think it is. A better piece of evidence is at 1:52 when Blonde hops up and peeks over the counter. It's brief but it's very clearly a different take in either trailer. So if they chose different takes for more shots/scenes, then potentially that could lead to a slightly different running time. But if anyone knows of any footage that is cut in some versions, I would love to know.

ftsoh
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:59 am

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#160 Post by ftsoh » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:23 pm

Slight change in topic. There is a Taiwan version of the opening and ending of As Tears Go By featuring an alternate Chinese title and ending. I doubt it will ever show up in the boxset since they were never included in the previous home video releases.

Here it is (spoiler alert):
https://fb.watch/1TMRdC-LUU/

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criterionsnob
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#161 Post by criterionsnob » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:08 pm

Did we already know that the Film at Lincoln Center retrospective includes 2046, Ashes of Time Redux, My Blueberry Nights, and both versions of The Grandmaster?

albucat
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#162 Post by albucat » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:33 pm

We did not, and now I'm sure excited about the prospect of a complete set being released in 2020.

cowboydan
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#163 Post by cowboydan » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:52 pm

albucat wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:33 pm
We did not, and now I'm sure excited about the prospect of a complete set being released in 2020.
If they also managed to include his short films (adverts and non-adverts) I would be ecstatic!

"The Follow" (BMW "The Hire series")
"There's Only One Sun" (Philips ad)
"wkw/tk/1996@7’55’’hk.net" (starring Tadanobu Asano & Karen Mok. Shot in the style of Fallen Angels, but with a murderous spin)
"I Travelled 9000 km To Give It To You" (from collection film “Chacun Son Cinema”)
"Hua yang de nian hua" (Wong complied and cut together found footage of vintage Chinese films that were thought to be lost but were discovered in a warehouse in California during the 1990's. Probably the least important of the shorts and already included on the standalone Criterion release of "In the Mood For Love" but would be nice for the sake of completion)

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rapta
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#164 Post by rapta » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:03 pm

I've still not seen the Hong Kong version of The Grandmaster, so that would be excellent.

Assuming this set is also coming out in the UK? Or might Tartan still have the rights to As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, In the Mood for Love and 2046? It seems the others that were with Artificial Eye have gone OOP, and lots of other ex-Tartan titles have ended up with other labels like Arrow and Third Window, so things are looking promising. It'll be disappointing if My Blueberry Nights is the one title that holds it all back, being with StudioCanal (who currently don't license to Criterion in the UK, AFAIK).

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dwk
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#165 Post by dwk » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:18 pm

They definitely have the UK rights to In the Mood for Love, so it is probably safe to assume that they, at least, have the UK rights to the same titles they have in the US. That would be everything except Ashes of Time and 2046, both with Sony in the US, & My Blueberry Nights and The Grandmaster, both Weinstein titles in the US.

Andrew_VB
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#166 Post by Andrew_VB » Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:24 pm

criterionsnob wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:08 pm
Did we already know that the Film at Lincoln Center retrospective includes 2046, Ashes of Time Redux, My Blueberry Nights, and both versions of The Grandmaster?
yeah, it was posted in this thread on 11/13

hadyn
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#167 Post by hadyn » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:22 am

Starting to look like we might finally have an announcement soon.

From yesterday:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CIBZgJSpj64 ... hk83unhmhf

From today:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CIDqzRvpSAm ... 0pxdhtnp0k

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Ribs
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#168 Post by Ribs » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:55 am

The retrospective started this week. No reason to think anything other than that.

hadyn
Joined: Mon May 11, 2020 2:37 pm

Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#169 Post by hadyn » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:18 pm

It continues...

https://www.instagram.com/p/CIGhH6UJba6 ... 9oxfj9ex7n

Perhaps Saturday and Sunday will be CE and ITMFL, followed by an announcement Monday? I can’t imagine they would be posting these every day like this if it were just for the Lincoln Center showings.

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Ribs
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#170 Post by Ribs » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:41 pm

Uh, this retrospective has been a project in the works for half a decade and they're disappointed they aren't able to hold it in person? It's not weird at all to post promotional material for a project they've spent such a long time on.

afilmcionado
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#171 Post by afilmcionado » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:11 pm

https://twitter.com/Nick_Newman/status/ ... 7040386050

Looks like more work has been done on Fallen Angels than just the aspect ratio and reframing.
Last edited by afilmcionado on Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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soundchaser
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#172 Post by soundchaser » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:37 pm

I know there are far bigger concerns here, but that colored-in jukebox is goofy as hell.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#173 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:47 pm

Ha, the colored-in jukebox is the first change I feel neutral about- but man, all those other ones are dreadful. This tampering just sucks. I appreciate the poster who is asking for both versions to be available for these films, which would be great but I suspect it ain't gonna happen

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senseabove
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#174 Post by senseabove » Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:01 pm

I somehow haven't rewatched Fallen Angels in nearly twenty years, but that close-up is still one of the most memorable shots in his career for me and that reframing just absolutely ruins it, with or without the desaturation.

With changes that severe, I feel like Criterion will face some pretty significant backlash if they don't include the original...

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domino harvey
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Re: Forthcoming: Wong Kar-wai Box

#175 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:10 pm

He can mess with it all he wants so long as the original version is presented in HD alongside it. If not, Criterion should get ready for seriously underwhelming sales. No one likes what George Lucas did to his movies, why does anyone think this will turn out any better when it actually looks far worse than even those notable examples?

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