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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Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#776 Post by Big Ben » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:44 pm


cowboydan
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#777 Post by cowboydan » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:32 pm

cdnchris wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:32 am
Ah, that's shady then: on the disc the ratio is fudged with for the entire feature. That, mixed with what they were talking about, had me thinking that they had released it, or intended to release it in scope at the time, especially since they mention working wider. Which could still be the case, but like you said they had to go a different route for whatever reason.
From what I understand, Wong wanted to shoot it on anamorphic but those cameras were limited in HK at the time, and all of them were being used on other projects, so they had to use spherical w/ wide lenses. After shooting, they were still hung up and wondering "what if we shot it on anamorphic?", so out of curiosity, In 1995 Wong tested what it would look like to project the 35mm release print though an anamorphic lens (you would never do this under normal circumstances to a non-anamorphic print). In a theater, he realized how extreme this looked and how the perspective and movements may even cause audience members to feel sick, so he decided against it.

Fast forward to the 4K restoration and Wong decides to make his "what if?" dream come true after decades....sort of. They needed to turn 1.85:1 into 2.35:1. For some shots they simply crop it without distortion/stretching. In the other shots, they utilize a method of stretching that is supposed to emulate what it would look like to project the film through and anamorphic lens, but achieved this through digital processes. In contrast to simple stretching, this effect introduces more distortion to the areas on the further edges of the frame, and the objects in the very center of the frame will be the least distorted. It reminds me of going through a wormhole or something like that.

cowboydan
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#778 Post by cowboydan » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:39 pm

swo17 wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:48 pm
senseabove wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:28 pm
cowboydan detailed options for other releases a while back.
Note that I've prominently linked to cowboydan's recommendations in the first post of this thread
I'm honored and glad that the info can be helpful to some.

I've also updated the post slightly. The main revelation I had was that none of the BD releases of Fallen Angels contain the original audio track. It does exist on some of the DVD editions. Also the Artificial Eye BD release has a messed up 5.1 audio track that is ruined by a heavy phaser effect. The 2.0 track is fine though (it's downmixed from the good 5.1 track)

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senseabove
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#779 Post by senseabove » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:54 pm

I'll just have to daydream about someone remuxing these so we have the best audio, subtitles, and video from all the various sources...

beamish14
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#780 Post by beamish14 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:06 pm

senseabove wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:54 pm
I'll just have to daydream about someone remuxing these so we have the best audio, subtitles, and video from all the various sources...

Hong Kong Rescue Society could be our savior. I actually emailed Jacob from that site regarding Ashes of Time

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tenia
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#781 Post by tenia » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:16 pm

"Note while we’re on aspect ratios: “Chungking Express” and “In the Mood for Love” were released theatrically in 1.66:1 and converted to 1.85:1 on video, but have been returned to their original ratio here."
Yet, Criterion released both on DVD and BD in 1.66.
At this point, don't raise such a specific point if it's to be that wrong about it !

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senseabove
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#782 Post by senseabove » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:34 pm

Since Tallerico and Erlich both made that incorrect statement about the incorrect ARs of previous releases, I assume it's in the press packet? Nevertheless, it's odd for Criterion to implicitly disparage their own previous releases of the films.

Speaking of which, it's pure fantasy I'm sure, but since it's been confirmed they're keeping the standalone release of ItMfL in print without upgrading the restoration, I sure wish they'd bring the old edition of Chungking Express back into print as a standalone release.

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soundchaser
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#783 Post by soundchaser » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:41 pm

senseabove wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:34 pm
Nevertheless, it's odd for Criterion to implicitly disparage their own previous releases of the films.
I do wonder how hesitant Criterion will be to work with living directors on a big set like this in the future, given how tied their hands seem to be. I can't be sure, but I have the suspicion some in the company are not happy.

J M Powell
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#784 Post by J M Powell » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:42 am

soundchaser wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:41 pm
I do wonder how hesitant Criterion will be to work with living directors on a big set like this in the future, given how tied their hands seem to be. I can't be sure, but I have the suspicion some in the company are not happy.
Criterion has a very long history of accommodating pretty much any request whatsoever made by living directors regarding the creative content of their films, and the company has frequently released revisionist versions of films while excluding theatrical cuts, versions with more authentic color timing, etc. It's true that their releases sometimes have included more authentic versions alongside the revisionist ones, but in many cases they haven't, especially when a living director has requested the exclusion. The WKW box set is perhaps the most extreme example of the downside of that approach, but the approach itself is nothing new and seems unlikely to change.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#785 Post by beamish14 » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:21 pm

Forgive me if this can been discussed anywhere, but has Christopher Doyle mentioned anything about this set? I'm really interested in hearing from him.

Orlac
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#786 Post by Orlac » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:07 am

J M Powell wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:42 am
soundchaser wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:41 pm
I do wonder how hesitant Criterion will be to work with living directors on a big set like this in the future, given how tied their hands seem to be. I can't be sure, but I have the suspicion some in the company are not happy.
Criterion has a very long history of accommodating pretty much any request whatsoever made by living directors regarding the creative content of their films, and the company has frequently released revisionist versions of films while excluding theatrical cuts, versions with more authentic color timing, etc. It's true that their releases sometimes have included more authentic versions alongside the revisionist ones, but in many cases they haven't, especially when a living director has requested the exclusion. The WKW box set is perhaps the most extreme example of the downside of that approach, but the approach itself is nothing new and seems unlikely to change.

Or even dead filmakers - their BD of Chaplin's The Kid is the shorter reissue.

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hearthesilence
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#787 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:45 am

More accurately, Chaplin's estate, and with the way they're set-up, estates are potentially more obstinate. If it's lawyers or a descendant carrying out specific demands left behind by the deceased, I can see virtually no room for negotiation. I was reading about a licensing issue with a Sondheim song not too long ago where one of the producers personally contacted him to negotiate either the terms or the money, most likely the latter - they were friends, so you'd think it would be easy. Well, Sondheim was no problem, but the publisher at Warner didn't give a shit because the publishing had a co-author credit (forgot who it was), and they had to approach that deceased writer's estate. Sure enough, the lawyers representing it didn't care, not even when they were notified of Sondheim's agreement - there were guidelines left behind, no exceptions.

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MichaelB
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#788 Post by MichaelB » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:55 pm

There are few things more depressing than securing the sometimes hugely enthusiastic support of relevant parties only to hit an obstacle over which they have no control whatsoever.

And I wish I wasn't writing from extensive experience.

I even had a director say "Well, I'm the director, and I'm OK with it, so why don't you just release it?" - but sadly he didn't personally own as much as a single solitary frame.

kekid
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#789 Post by kekid » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:53 pm

I wrote to Criterion about my unhappiness with significant artistic changes made to the previously existing versions of various films in the "World of Wong Kar Wai". The response was prompt and, as expected, unapologetic. This is their fundamental philosophy and unlikely to change. Here is the actual response:

Thank you for your feedback, which has been reviewed by management and Jon requested that I address on his behalf.

While we understand the value of memory when it comes to one's passion for cinema, we stand by our philosophy of working with directors to allow them to present their full artistic vision as they intended (which is the case with WORLD OF WONG KAR WAI) and not the version that was impacted by studio decisions, censorship, and other external restrictions placed upon them.

I understand that you and other fans may disagree with our stance but I do not see it changing any time in the future because it is a founding element of our work.

I am happy to confirm that overall the reception of this set has been a positive one and that our communication about what is included on the discs even prior to the release has meant that most folks have been clear about the details of their purchase.

Perhaps you've already read this but I hope that Wong Kar Wai's detailed statement offers more insight about the specific updates for the titles in this set: https://s3.amazonaws.com/criterion-prod ... iginal.pdf

"I invite the audience to join me on starting afresh, as these are not the same films, and we are no longer the same audience."

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soundchaser
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#790 Post by soundchaser » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:23 pm

kekid wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:53 pm
While we understand the value of memory when it comes to one's passion for cinema, we stand by our philosophy of working with directors to allow them to present their full artistic vision as they intended (which is the case with WORLD OF WONG KAR WAI) and not the version that was impacted by studio decisions, censorship, and other external restrictions placed upon them.

I understand that you and other fans may disagree with our stance but I do not see it changing any time in the future because it is a founding element of our work.
Except — and I know I’ve said this many times before, but I’m still baffled by how they can parrot this line — that’s not what’s going on here. This is not a preservation of a director’s original cut or intent in any way, shape, or form. THESE versions are the result of external restrictions placed upon the company by the director. (Especially when he says that they’re not the same films because he’s not the same person. How can those two ideas coexist?)

And acting like this is just about memory (implying they can be faulty or dismissing them as not important) is to miss the issues of public access, revision, and the meaning of words.

I know I’m one of this set’s fiercest critics on the board, but it really has made me lose a lot of respect for the company, and this email certainly didn’t help.

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domino harvey
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#791 Post by domino harvey » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:32 pm

I'd bet good money whichever rep is answering this is pulling it from a default answer template in HelpScout et al, which means they already get or expect to get a lot of complaints about this, if that makes you feel any better

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soundchaser
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#792 Post by soundchaser » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:34 pm

Oh, it was very clearly a form letter. I just hate that it has to exist in the first place, and that this is seemingly the party line.

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hearthesilence
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#793 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:24 pm

I think from their POV, these changes are decisions Wong is making free of anyone's influence - his and his alone. Anything he did before may have been beholden to investors, a studio, etc.

Problem is, they're decisions being made YEARS after the fact, which Wong admits and doesn't care and has given his explanation why. (It doesn't help that these films weren't exactly taken from him when they were being made, at least not that I know of.) There's no way anyone's going to come to an agreement. A work of art should represent a view from the particular time or place it was created - anything less is revisionist. Either someone gets that or they don't.

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domino harvey
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#794 Post by domino harvey » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:12 pm

I mean, Criterion is not gonna say "U kno what, u right" here, so I'm not even mad. As someone else said somewhere in this thread, thank God I don't like WKW enough that I feel the anguish those who do must!

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swo17
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#795 Post by swo17 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:26 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:12 pm
Then they came for WKW and I didn't speak up, for I was not a WKW fan

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hearthesilence
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#796 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:30 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:12 pm
I mean, Criterion is not gonna say "U kno what, u right" here
Maybe we should write back, "I know it's hard to think about, but you have to be strong. Remember how those movies made you feel."

Then when they apologetically write back in tears we can say, "It's okay. You don't have to feel alone anymore."

Scorseez
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#797 Post by Scorseez » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:14 pm

I bought the set. It’s mostly fantastic. I remember the original films (truth be told, these are new versions) like I remember previous iPhone iterations. That is, not all that well.

We own the experience of seeing the films. WKW owns the films themselves. Move on.

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soundchaser
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#798 Post by soundchaser » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:31 pm

Scorseez wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:14 pm
I bought the set. It’s mostly fantastic. I remember the original films (truth be told, these are new versions) like I remember previous iPhone iterations. That is, not all that well.

We own the experience of seeing the films. WKW owns the films themselves. Move on.
Films are not iPhone iterations - and in any case, I would argue that preservation of hardware is important too! (CRT TVs are necessary for understanding how certain media like early video games actually looked.) You're probably right that I should move on, since Criterion is obviously sticking by their decision, but access, availability, and preservation are important topics to me personally (as they should be to anyone who cares about film as a medium), and I don't think your dismissal of the problems here is very fair.

Scorseez
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#799 Post by Scorseez » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:53 pm

Fair point, @soundchaser. ‘Move on’ was a bit dismissive.

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Finch
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#800 Post by Finch » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:12 pm

If nothing else, this is going to be number one for the Worst 2021 Criterion release on this forum's end of year list. Right?

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