WONG KAR WAI COLLECTION CRITERION BLU RAY REVIEW

Right. At this point in my usual review, I will set up and then pay off later. Those times are dead for this film, as the real talking point, the real reason your eyes are zipping along this review is that you, dear film fan, Blu ray buyer, you dear movie master want to know. ‘What the fuck has Wong Kar Wai done and does it effect the films?’ Why have I asked that? Well as you and I know, when this set was announced, we heard that the master had decided to re colour and regrade the films. Why would he do that? You asked. I asked. The answer was oddly empty. He wanted to make them closer to his vision. Like all great directors, he buggered around with their films. Well I will answer this, as well as briefly tell you about the excellent extras that the disc has and hope you can judge for yourself.

So in the set are As Tears Go By, Days Of Being Wild, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In The Mood For Love and 2046. So that is the roll call done. The best films on the set are Happy Together and Chungking Express. Love stories, tinged with pain, suffering and a style that rewards multiple re watches. Now the ‘restorations’ o both have not destroyed the original. More they have deepened the colour pallet and exposed the grading of the original photography, to make it almost sweeter. With In The Mood For Love however, there are major problems. The colour is harsh in some frames, with the settings becoming a little unreal and the warmth of lighting feels empty. However I am not a fan of the film, some who are will feel aggrieved. 2046 seems to be better than the original releases looked and felt. Often, newer films benefit more from a swift restoration treatment and this has actually benefited from a playing around and improving of the visual field. As Tears Go By has not really changed from the original release, it has just been given a new breathe of life. Seeing how that VHS version I had was tired and drained at the very least. Finally, Days Of Being Wild and Fallen Angels, middle along. Not in a shit storm kind of way but more, you do not notice heavy handed treatment. You notice a sweetness on the cinematography and a tone that has blended the setting with the narrative. So all in all, its a mixed bag of successes and middle road stuff.

Extras

So there are a bunch of really good extras here!

For future film makers and film theorists, watch Wong answers questions submitted, Episode of the television series Moving Pictures and Interview and “cinema lesson” with Wong from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. The first, sees Wong take a bunch of very probing questions about aesthetics, theory, performance, framing and of course, style. He answers with a mix of intelligence, substance and emotion in a way that benefits the viewer. He unpacks scenes from Happy Together in such a gloriously rich way. Moving Pictures documentary (which I saw on release), sets the world of Wong but it doesn’t seem to expose him to hard questions, more his films content. The “cinema lesson” deserves so much attention because Wong details film making in a casual content and easy way.

SEVEN-BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTOR’S SET FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restorations of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and 2046, approved by director Wong Kar Wai, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks
  • New 4K digital restorations of As Tears Go By and Days of Being Wild, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
  • New program in which Wong answers questions submitted, at the invitation of the director, by authors André Aciman and Jonathan Lethem; filmmakers Sofia Coppola, Rian Johnson, Lisa Joy, and Chloé Zhao; cinematographers Philippe Le Sourd and Bradford Young; and filmmakers and founders/creative directors of Rodarte Kate and Laura Mulleavy
  • Alternate version of Days of Being Wild featuring different edits of the film’s prologue and final scenes, on home video for the first time
  • Hua yang de nian hua, a 2000 short film by Wong
  • Extended version of The Hand, a 2004 short film by Wong, available in the U.S. for the first time
  • Interview and “cinema lesson” with Wong from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival
  • Three making-of documentaries, featuring interviews with Wong; actors Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen, Faye Wong, and Ziyi Zhang; and others
  • Episode of the television series Moving Pictures from 1996 featuring Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle
  • Interviews from 2002 and 2005 with Doyle
  • Excerpts from a 1994 British Film Institute audio interview with Cheung on her work in Days of Being Wild
  • Program from 2012 on In the Mood for Love’s soundtrack
  • Press conference for In the Mood for Love from the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival
  • Deleted scenes, alternate endings, behind-the-scenes footage, a promo reel, music videos, and trailers
  • PLUS: Deluxe packaging, including a perfect-bound, French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note, and six collectible art prints

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