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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Mr Sausage
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#926 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:16 am

senseabove wrote:Oh, please. Yes, my opinions about a subject I've been researching graduate degrees in are just an emotional temper tantrum. Thank god I have you to make me "realize" the "truth"! Sometimes I just don't know how I keep my head on!
You’ve been researching graduate degrees in the minor, nit-picky contradictions in Wong Kar-Wai’s director’s statement?!

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#927 Post by senseabove » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:28 am

Yep! Unfortunately, for some reason that I sure hope you can explain to dumb, emotional ol' me, every single school requires coursework in the ethics and history of film preservation and archi—ah shit, sorry, I forgot I'm not supposed to say that word here anymore lest it make you see red.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#928 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:50 am

senseabove wrote:Yep! Unfortunately, for some reason that I sure hope you can explain to dumb, emotional ol' me, every single school requires coursework in the ethics and history of film preservation and archi—ah shit, sorry, I forgot I'm not supposed to say that word here anymore lest it make you see red.
It’s worth asking yourself why you chose to refute a post saying a number of arguments are being made out of emotion by strawmanning the shit out of it and then being sarcastic and dismissive. Isn’t this confessing what you claim isn’t true?

This topic is deeply upsetting to you, plainly. Enough so that you saw a harmless discussion of the knotty issues surrounding original intent and chose in effect to say we were all fiddling while Rome burned. Enough so that your first reaction on reading the phrase “the original has become a phantom” was to interpret it as “lol_nothing_matters.gif”, which is such a weird and uncharitable place to go, even if you did later walk it back and offer begrudging agreement. Enough so that you somehow thought your graduate work in film preservation was the unstated target of my post above and not the things I explicitly stated were the target.

But I sympathize. This is a triggering discussion for you; it eats at the heart of something you care deeply about. But those strong emotions are dictating, not your opinions on film preservation and archival practise (I assume they’re sound), but your need to respond in here and the tenor those responses take. You said it yourself: you wouldn’t care about little nit picks over possible contradictions or po-mo discussions out of the lecture hall if standard archival practise wasn’t being “gutted” and the films you loved abandoned to time’s dust bin. The posts you’ve made to me and others over the past few days have been driven mainly by emotion. Passion, yes, but also hurt and anger.

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senseabove
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#929 Post by senseabove » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:29 am

Mr Sausage wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:50 am
It’s worth asking yourself why you chose to refute a post saying a number of arguments are being made out of emotion by strawmanning the shit out of it and then being sarcastic and dismissive. Isn’t this confessing what you claim isn’t true?
For what it's worth, I'm only vaguely positive toward Wong. I think he's a good and interesting filmmaker, but I'd hardly say I have a profound love for any of his films. And it is not relevant to my argument, though perhaps it is to yours, that as much as I have any opinion on its quality, I think (the previous version of \:D/) Fallen Angels is his weakest film up through 2046, though I've only seen it twice, when a friend showed it to me in high school and again a decade ago when it played in a near-complete retrospective. I was looking forward to revisiting everything with this set. But I digress, because...

No, it is not a confession, and I presume I needn't remind you we're neck-and-neck on the "sarcasm and dismissal" front? I'm just venting frustration when you dodge the primary point of my preceding post: broadly, that I and others are critical of Wong's "clarification" because it is the only justification we have, and a paltry one, for an objective and willful misrepresentation of film history with what will be the de facto versions of his films in all but celluloid-centric theaters and obsessive collectors' living rooms, almost certainly until after his death; or at the very narrow very least, that his—because c'mon, we have to assume Criterion asked—his exclusion of an alternative version of Fallen Angels is an objective misrepresentation of film history. And you dodged the argument by "strawmanning the shit out of it" with accusations of emotional compromise due to Santa failing to give me what I asked for. If you'd like to revise your free analysis, it might be useful to know that, as a gay man who grew up constantly policing his masculinity, I do, ironically, get a little emotional when people accuse my arguments of being emotionally compromised while dodging the main point of my argument.

But yes, you're at least right that I'm getting heated, so I'm going to step away from this thread and maybe the board for a bit to focus on more beneficial and useful things than arguing with people who are "so close to the truth, yet just don't seem to realize it" on the internet. Enjoy the last word, whatever it may be!

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knives
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#930 Post by knives » Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:35 am

Is it a misrepresentation though? Like Sausage has said Wong has been pretty consistent that there are two things motivating him here: a curiosity over what his original intent on some things could look like and a desire to bring his films to his current artistic tastes. There’s no reason to doubt that the case and at best we can try to figure out which intent explains which change.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#931 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:31 am

It could only be a “misrepresentation of film history” if Wong were claiming the changed versions were the original release versions, right? He’s been very open about these being new versions of the films. Perhaps the explanations for this or that choice doesn’t make much sense, but presumedly it all comes down to him just wanting it that way.

Do you know what point senseabove thinks I’m dodging? That not getting the original versions is the big problem here? Everybody here, me included, already believes that. Other than that I don’t know what I’m supposed to acknowledge.

As for the rest of his post, I don’t even know what to do with so much bitter recrimination.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#932 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:44 am

I get the impression that Mr Sausage is just playfully being the fly in the ointment about this whole kerfuffle and treating this like an intellectual exercise more than any kind of personal attack. Whether you want to continue to engage with that is, of course, a different matter!

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diamonds
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#933 Post by diamonds » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:23 am

Doyle addresses some of the changes:
I think that we should not be so sensitive with our works. You have to let go, let them go. No need to masturbate over creations. I was not firmly involved in the restorations, although I gave my opinion several times and I was observing how the process was carried out.
On Fallen Angels:
“I think the Fallen Angels case is a perfect example of an attitude towards work: they tried switching to an anamorphic format and oh, how they marveled. You always have to see with new eyes, the social and conceptual changes have been many. One thing that happened in almost all of those movies, something that people often call our ‘style,’ is that it usually came out of a mistake,” he said with a laugh.

He also says he didn’t watch the new version of Fallen Angels, but the idea to have select black-and-white scenes only came about in production. “What happened was that we shot a certain scene with two actors who had only been hired for one day and something went wrong with the emulsion,” he said. “I don’t remember the reason, maybe one of the attendees accidentally opened the can. The truth is that the image had been left with low exposure and a lot of grain. What to do about that? We tried various things and eventually transferred the scenes to high-exposure black and white film. And that worked. But we couldn’t have a single black-and-white scene, so we decided that every time something went wrong in the relationship between the leads, that situation would be seen in black and white. That became a part of the style, but it wasn’t originally that way. It was a kind of compromise.”

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Number Forty-Eight
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#934 Post by Number Forty-Eight » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:05 pm

Thank you. I'm currently at Fallen Angels, and I'm hesitating which version to rewatch first. The old (that I forgot) or the new one. The new one look like an experimental film where the director has taken a drug and let us experience the feeling.

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barbarella satyricon
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#935 Post by barbarella satyricon » Mon Apr 19, 2021 5:06 pm

barbarella satyricon wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:12 am
I became just kind of blissfully lost in the flash and the glow of the cinematography, the colors, the compositions, the movements, not to mention the editing, the music, on and on.
Christopher Doyle enters chat:

“No need to masturbate over (my old) creations.“

Me: feels attacked!

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#936 Post by cowboydan » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:45 pm

So the Director of Photography for Fallen Angels hasn't watched the version of the film that was just released to the public. A version of the film that is altered to be in a drastically different aspect ratio by using cropping and stretching.

You can't convince me that there's nothing wrong with that. You can tell me to not get hung up about it, like Doyle said. But if we're talking about the validity of this new version of the film, it doesn't meet that threshold.

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Brian C
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#937 Post by Brian C » Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:49 pm

This feels like something that I mentioned in a different thread awhile back - or maybe earlier in this thread? - which is that fans often seem to feel more strongly about changes than the actual creators do. I’m not even saying that fans are wrong; certainly the whole point of releasing a work to the public is to generate passionate responses.

But it still seems worth noting to me.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#938 Post by feihong » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:05 am

Later in the article, when Doyle talks about why certain scenes were black and white in Fallen Angels and in Happy Together, he says this:

"The style came out of an unexpected coincidence, and I think that’s the attitude any artist should have. Usually, mistakes are telling you something you would never have thought of.”

Reading the article in full, I don't hear him saying precisely that he agrees with Wong, nor do I think he's saying that he doesn't care how the films look. He says first that he wasn't too involved in the process, that he gave his opinion, but that ultimately he's decided he doesn't want to get hung up on exactly how it should look. To me it sounds like he's essentially implying that there was a difference of opinion he had with Wong or someone else, which he chose not to pursue; which is what brings him to this attitude, to not wanting to obsess over the restorations. But this statement on Happy Together and Fallen Angels, on the idea that the style comes out of unexpected coincidence, and that any artist should be willing to embrace that––"mistakes are telling you something you would never have thought of"––that seems to be directed at Wong Kar-Wai, not at viewers or fans (and I think it's a little telling that he hasn't watched the Fallen Angels restoration). It sounds to me like Doyle is telling Wong to let the movies be.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#939 Post by MichaelB » Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:00 am

cowboydan wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:45 pm
So the Director of Photography for Fallen Angels hasn't watched the version of the film that was just released to the public. A version of the film that is altered to be in a drastically different aspect ratio by using cropping and stretching.

You can't convince me that there's nothing wrong with that. You can tell me to not get hung up about it, like Doyle said. But if we're talking about the validity of this new version of the film, it doesn't meet that threshold.
I look forward to your impassioned denunciation of Arrow's 4K The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, which wantonly ignores the clearly stated aspect ratio preference of its distinguished and indeed multiply Oscar-winning cinematographer. Who the hell do Arrow think they are?

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#940 Post by tenia » Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:41 am

Isn't it actually quite different in that it prevents a technical referent to significantly alter the movie's visuals ? In this case, it's not the director but the DoP, but I suppose the reasoning is similar to not wanting the movie altered.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#941 Post by yoshimori » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:21 am

feihong wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:05 am
It sounds to me like Doyle is telling Wong to let the movies be.
That's right, I think, but that's coming from a particular Doyle-y perspective. He's always had an attitude of "been there, done that" about his work and was very concerned, after the success of CT, FA, and HT not to take jobs on which directors wanted more of the same. So he's not, I suspect, telling Wong "hands off" here so much as making fun of him for having not moved on like a 'real human being' (a la Doyle) should've.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#942 Post by Kambei » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:37 am

For anyone out there still sitting on the fence on this reissue (and my apologies for not reading through the previous 6 or so pages), I think this set is absolutely worth the purchase (as long as your are not a reference film library). Having just finished Fallen Angels (and I should say I have the previous Kino blu-ray release as well, so I'm not upset a new version is included here), I have to say that this is my preferred version of the film. It is wonderous and has a much lighter mood than the original. The humour and humanity of the mute's arc come through much better, I found, and the tragedy and sexiness of the assassin & his boss's arc were sublime. It seems much more like a companion to Chungking Express than before. Looked great and immersive on 65 OLED (and nicely psychedelic in the tunnel sequences).

Likewise, my viewings of As Time Goes By and Days of Being Wild were the the most enjoyable viewing I've had of these films (I have seen both previously in theatres many years ago). Chungking Express was excellent, as always (I also have the Criterion stand alone release of this).

I suspect these versions will, in addition to the previous releases, also be seen as essential. They are not worse films in any way, other than not being identical to the original release. I'm loving the set and looking forward to watching the rest to see the films in a new light (but I also have copies of Happy Together and In the Mood for Love, so again, the changes do not bother me).

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#943 Post by cowboydan » Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:50 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:00 am
cowboydan wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:45 pm
So the Director of Photography for Fallen Angels hasn't watched the version of the film that was just released to the public. A version of the film that is altered to be in a drastically different aspect ratio by using cropping and stretching.

You can't convince me that there's nothing wrong with that. You can tell me to not get hung up about it, like Doyle said. But if we're talking about the validity of this new version of the film, it doesn't meet that threshold.
I look forward to your impassioned denunciation of Arrow's 4K The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, which wantonly ignores the clearly stated aspect ratio preference of its distinguished and indeed multiply Oscar-winning cinematographer. Who the hell do Arrow think they are?
I don't know any details about that film. It depends on reasonings and contexts of course. Also degree of change. Going from 1.85:1 to 1.78:1 is usually minor. I'm not sure how big or small the change for that release is.

Also, I think the case of Fallen Angels is pretty unique right? I would like to know if anyone is aware any other cases of a film's image intentionally being cropped and/or warped/distorted/stretched for its whole runtime, years after its initial release.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#944 Post by swo17 » Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:01 pm

Storaro feels that every film he shot should now be presented in 2:1. Bird was originally 2.35:1

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#945 Post by domino harvey » Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:02 pm

swo17 wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:01 pm
Storaro feels that every film he shot should now be presented in 2:1. Bird was originally 2.35:1
I believe he actually only thinks this for the films he originally lensed in 'Scope, not the 1.85 films

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#946 Post by swo17 » Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:06 pm

You may be right

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#947 Post by cowboydan » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:56 pm

Oh that guy. I don't know what to make of that. I think I prefer The Last Emperor in the original cinemascope AR.

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feihong
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#948 Post by feihong » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:36 pm

Still, Storaro makes that new version of the film via cropping. I don't think he horizontally stretches anything, or colors his black-and-white footage. The changes to Fallen Angels are on a different scale to my eyes.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#949 Post by dwk » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:55 pm

feihong wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:36 pm
Still, Storaro makes that new version of the film via cropping. I don't think he horizontally stretches anything, or colors his black-and-white footage. The changes to Fallen Angels are on a different scale to my eyes.
Well, he did change at least one shot from color to black and white (check out the 4th comparison)

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#950 Post by feihong » Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:51 am

I don't know what that doesn't bother me as much, but it doesn't. If all Wong had done was make a few shots that were color before into black and white, I wouldn't mind these changes like I do. It might be a question of degrees, though I think the horizontal stretching is an absolute dealbreaker for me.

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