1073 Memories of Murder

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
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#26 Post by feihong » Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:22 pm

After so many years of belligerent objection to colorizing black and white movies, to smoothing and DNR on blu ray, I hardly imagined we'd have to be as furious about people taking the color out of color films. But this seems the heinous new trend in restoration. I thought I might be able to become calmer as I got older. But I guess there is no such thing as calm waters in a life of posting.

But now that I think about it, there were the days of teal-and-orange color-correction before this, so perhaps this conflict is as old as the hills. I don't understand what really motivates people to restore the films to a look they never had before. Who can think that is a desirable outcome? Does no one feel that modern trends in film visuals shouldn't apply to films made in the past, under different conditions, with different visual intents?

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Brian C
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#27 Post by Brian C » Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:11 pm

feihong wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:22 pm
After so many years of belligerent objection to colorizing black and white movies, to smoothing and DNR on blu ray, I hardly imagined we'd have to be as furious about people taking the color out of color films. But this seems the heinous new trend in restoration. I thought I might be able to become calmer as I got older. But I guess there is no such thing as calm waters in a life of posting.

But now that I think about it, there were the days of teal-and-orange color-correction before this, so perhaps this conflict is as old as the hills. I don't understand what really motivates people to restore the films to a look they never had before. Who can think that is a desirable outcome? Does no one feel that modern trends in film visuals shouldn't apply to films made in the past, under different conditions, with different visual intents?
I wonder if a big part of the issue is that, counterintuitively and perhaps even paradoxically, viewers at home care a lot more about this stuff than actual cinematographers and directors. I don't know the provenance of this particular restoration, but it seems to me that a good many of the questionable ones are overseen and even instigated by the filmmakers themselves. Like with alternate edits of films, I think most viewers naturally assume that every cut is carefully considered and reflects the will of the filmmakers, but as we've seen, many directors see it differently - they see mistakes they made, compromises they were forced to accept, etc., and just don't see things as gospel set in stone as I think a lot of people would naturally assume.

And I wonder if things like color grading are the same way. Even if the color grading is very carefully considered at the time, well, preferences change, things are possible that weren't before, and so forth. Maybe that's why there's not more of an outcry from filmmakers - with some exceptions, they just don't care all that much, while in the meantime we at home see comparisons between old and new and feel like some sort of artistic injustice has been committed.

Which I don't even really mean as a defense of this kind of revisionism. But I remember some years back when Criterion posted a pre-emptive apologia for their new grading of Days of Heaven that Malick himself initiated, for better or worse, and was blown away their recounting of how cavalier Malick's attitude was towards the whole thing. That said, though, especially in the (now sadly mostly bygone) days of film projection, a movie could look wildly different from print to print, and even screen to screen with the same print, based on the quality of the print, the brightness and temperature of the bulb, etc. Until very recently - the last 10 years or so - how a film actually looked to the end viewer was mostly out of the filmmakers' hands, and even today you're unlikely to find two random TVs that have the same color settings (although admittedly this seems more standardized than in the past as well). So a certain degree of filmmaker indifference to this maybe makes some sense after all.

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Finch
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#28 Post by Finch » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:15 pm

Depending on the reactions to the extras, I may still get the Criterion but definitely holding on to my Korean BD for the film itself.

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andyli
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#29 Post by andyli » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:49 pm

I've watched the 4K transfer on the French BD a few years ago and absolutely enjoyed the experience. Without a direct comparison the color grading is not very noticeable and certainly not intrusive. Also, I don't care so much about the color gradings on those early Korean DVDs, let alone use them as any sort of point of reference. Who's to say they are accurate anyway?

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feihong
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#30 Post by feihong » Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:44 am

Brian C wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:11 pm
I wonder if a big part of the issue is that, counterintuitively and perhaps even paradoxically, viewers at home care a lot more about this stuff than actual cinematographers and directors. I don't know the provenance of this particular restoration, but it seems to me that a good many of the questionable ones are overseen and even instigated by the filmmakers themselves. Like with alternate edits of films, I think most viewers naturally assume that every cut is carefully considered and reflects the will of the filmmakers, but as we've seen, many directors see it differently - they see mistakes they made, compromises they were forced to accept, etc., and just don't see things as gospel set in stone as I think a lot of people would naturally assume.

And I wonder if things like color grading are the same way. Even if the color grading is very carefully considered at the time, well, preferences change, things are possible that weren't before, and so forth. Maybe that's why there's not more of an outcry from filmmakers - with some exceptions, they just don't care all that much, while in the meantime we at home see comparisons between old and new and feel like some sort of artistic injustice has been committed.
I think you're probably very right about this. And perhaps someone restoring the film in a more historical context––someone not connected to the production of the film in the first place––probably feels a little more need to have some fidelity in the color, the cut, etc.

The thing is, for most films restored for blu ray, I don't have any problem with the color––there's often a bit of difference from the color in previous editions I've seen, whatever; but with some of these films, you can really tell they're messing with it, for some reason. My default assumption used to be that the monitor in the restoration studio isn't calibrated right, which is pretty silly. I think often this ends up being a very deliberate thing they do to cook up the results and make the film look newer. To the filmmaker, this is likely a "fresh"–seeming look. Either way, that trailer makes it look like they've messed with this movie. I suppose it might have always been intended to look green, to the exclusion of every other color...but somehow I doubt it. Especially when you're supposed to recognize red tones through out the film. The green tone absolutely neutralizes that color specifically. It seems like an obvious poor choice.

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TMDaines
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#31 Post by TMDaines » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:58 am

andyli wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:49 pm
I've watched the 4K transfer on the French BD a few years ago and absolutely enjoyed the experience. Without a direct comparison the color grading is not very noticeable and certainly not intrusive. Also, I don't care so much about the color gradings on those early Korean DVDs, let alone use them as any sort of point of reference. Who's to say they are accurate anyway?
Probably the most unhelpful trend on this forum and elsewhere is just posting screenshots from two different releases and treating the colour grading as polemical issue. Yes, the differences are clear when you do a direct side-by-side comparison, but no-one watching these without an immediate reference for their eye is going to notice this contrast.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#32 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:20 am

feihong wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:44 am
Especially when you're supposed to recognize red tones through out the film. The green tone absolutely neutralizes that color specifically. It seems like an obvious poor choice.
This is an important point and makes me question the considerations of Bong while overseeing the transfer. I can maybe understand how the green helps establish the gloomy tone (though I think it’s also really important that some scenes take place in the sun and still retain a solemn mood, which will likely be absent here). However, the popping red imagery is ingrained in my memory from my first viewing and every subsequent one. The still posted on the previous page of the woman in the red jacket already demonstrates it fading, and I wonder if first-time viewers on this blu-ray will experience the same powerful color contrast that’s stuck in my mind all these years. I haven’t listened to the two old commentary tracks, but I’d bet some money that they, as well as Rayns’ new one, will mention the use of ‘popping’ red, making this all the more ironic.

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dekadetia
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#33 Post by dekadetia » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:05 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:20 am
I wonder if first-time viewers on this blu-ray will experience the same powerful color contrast that’s stuck in my mind all these years. I haven’t listened to the two old commentary tracks, but I’d bet some money that they, as well as Rayns’ new one, will mention the use of ‘popping’ red, making this all the more ironic.
Caught this for the first time on VOD last year (same green transfer that's coming to Criterion), and I found myself wondering if I'd even have noticed the red motif if I hadn't read about it in reviews. It's absolutely muted throughout.

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NeoNical
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#34 Post by NeoNical » Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:19 am

I remember seeing this about 3 years ago, long before many people knew about this film. 2 years later, I'm glad Memories of Murder is getting attention after the major success of Parasite, which was an unexpected but certainly welcome one. This is now my favorite film in the collection, Branded to Kill previously crowning that title, and I am in for this release, no matter the colors which I am personally against. The original Region 1 DVD that is long OOP I thought had better colors during the brighter scenes. Although I may not be a trained and educated professional when it comes to video quality, I remember the opening scene with its vivid, yellowish-orange fields, the luscious light-blues, and the words, "살인의 추억" written down the middle. This shot, the red scenes, and the finale is all beautiful and alive with colors. I can see that it was intentional to make the film made up of mostly pale colors, which I would never expect a crazy saturation when Criterion releases this. From what I see in the 4K restoration, it seems to empathize much on the green and also a more harsher, tragic tone in coloring. The field scenes don't glow vividly as I remember but I have been meaning to find a copy of this film in forever since I rented the OOP DVD at my local library. About a year ago, I found a copy of this on Blu-ray in Japan. I do regret not buying it but Criterion's new edition will most certainly do my long desire to keep a physical copy of this film. Behind Chinatown, Memories of Murder is my favorite film of all time and one I've been highly encouraging my friends to give a try ever since they were amazed by Parasite. Alas, they showed no interest in it but after all, I have very different taste in films as they do so I can understand this.

Must have been 2 years ago since I wrote a letter of suggestions for Criterion. In my letter, I wrote a paragraph for The Killer, Hard Boiled, and Memories of Murder accompanied with a still. Still new into the home video community but I have never been as happy as I am seeing Memories of Murder getting a new physical release in years, despite the big changes in the 4K restoration. (Side Note: My first post in Criterion Forum! Excited to join and discuss films).

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#35 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jan 19, 2021 12:00 pm

Welcome, NeoNical

I began singing the praises of Memories of Murder as soon as my pre-orderd Korean DVD arrived, long long ago. I am pleased that Bong is finally getting the attention he deserves -- but I really wish that the new release retained something like the original DVDs color palette.

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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#36 Post by nostaljhia » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:17 am

TMDaines wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:58 am
Yes, the differences are clear when you do a direct side-by-side comparison, but no-one watching these without an immediate reference for their eye is going to notice this contrast.
I disagree. Do you think I made the comparison for no reason, just because I felt like it? I made it because I saw the screencaps on the Criterion page and immediately noticed it looked different than how I remembered it. And I've only seen it once. It's pretty damn obvious even without the comparison—just look at the tunnel scene.

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yoloswegmaster
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#37 Post by yoloswegmaster » Sun Mar 21, 2021 9:16 am

Memories of Svet

Glad to see that a restored version of the student film is on the disc.

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yoloswegmaster
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#38 Post by yoloswegmaster » Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:46 pm

Interesting find from the blu forums, a trailer that was uploaded on Youtube from 2007 that features similar color grading to the new restoration.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#39 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:13 pm


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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#40 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:49 pm

Sticking with my Korean DVD. I don't like the look of this new version at all.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#41 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:59 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:49 pm
Sticking with my Korean DVD. I don't like the look of this new version at all.
I feel the same way. Ugh...wonder if I can track down any of the old ones for cheap?

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feihong
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#42 Post by feihong » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:41 pm

I believe the CJ Entertainment blu ray is still in print.

https://www.yesasia.com/us/memories-of- ... info.html
Kind of horrible that Criterion is fine with passing this stuff off on us. This can't be some "original vision" for the movie.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#43 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:52 pm

It always seemed to me that some of those (formerly) colorful, brightly lit scenes were intended to provide a jarring contrast to the darker scenes. Having those contrasts muted seems to be a bad idea.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#44 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:04 pm

Wow, this looks even worse than I expected. I cannot believe Bong was cool with muting the crucial reds, and destroying the juxtaposition of sunny and dreary setting conditions. Anyone looking for the Crit to be their first experience with this film should seriously reconsider, and I'm usually the last guy to complain about color timing..

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swo17
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#45 Post by swo17 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:21 pm

How does the AE edition that came out late last year look?

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#46 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:31 pm

While not as egregious as what Wong seems to have done, this is just further proof that directors are quite capable of vandalizing their own past work. They may have a right to do it, but it's still (very very) wrong.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#47 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:54 pm

Of course Gary says he likes the change here and then compares it to the WKW transfers

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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#48 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:56 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:54 pm
Of course Gary says he likes the change here and then compares it to the WKW transfers
Oh well!

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Finch
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#49 Post by Finch » Fri Mar 26, 2021 11:54 pm

Glad I didn't sell my Korean BD. But this might still be worth picking up at a sale for the bonus features.

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Boosmahn
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Re: 1073 Memories of Murder

#50 Post by Boosmahn » Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:21 am

swo17 wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:21 pm
How does the AE edition that came out late last year look?
I was under the impression their release is sourced from the same restoration. Can anyone confirm this?

EDIT: This trailer uploaded by Curzon appears to have the same color grading.

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