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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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#826 Post by _shadow_ » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:03 pm

100 percent this!
soundchaser wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:27 am
kekid wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:15 am
If Kino or Shout! Factory or another label with less prestige released these “restorations,” there would be scores of people warning others off the discs, demanding replacement programs, and trashing the company.

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hearthesilence
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#827 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:20 pm

A few quick questions:

Is 2046 supposed to get a standalone release anywhere? And which DVD was it that gets Happy Together right? (The Kino releases didn't.) Even though it isn't in HD, does it have English subtitles and is it worth getting if it's not ridiculously expensive?

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#828 Post by Finch » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:30 pm

If this was purely about the merits of the FILMS themselves, this set would be among the best put out by any label. I also recognise that in all likelihood Criterion were faced with the choice of taking or leaving this set. Believe me, when I first heard that this release was coming, I wanted to buy it so bad. But I also don't want to financially support the sort of revisionism that denies these films their existence in their original form. It may be just me but WKW's refusal to offer his films as released originally feels to me like a deep seated insecurity about how they would be perceived by contemporary audiences. If he had allowed Criterion to release the originals along with the revised cuts, you would not hear any complaints from anyone on this board - unless the originals had not received the same care as the revised cuts (but we are not even getting that). And if Chris's reviews are anything to go by, even outside of the controversy over the changes in the revisionist cuts, there are presentation issues with a good chunk of them, personal preferences aside, and the extras are not exhaustive.

Even when you look at the set in the very narrow context of what we are actually given, I don't think it clears the standard of a great Criterion set by any measure. If each disc had scored a 9 or 10 for video, audio and at least an 8 for bonus material, then you might have an argument. And given the aesthetic changes to the films, you'll evidently get a lot of pushback on whether the films themselves are still great after WKW has fucked around with them this much. Personally, I think the green tint on In The Mood For Love is a dealbreaker, as are the shifts in Chungking Express. Yeah, the old CE Blu-Ray from Criterion looks washed out by comparison but I'll take original colors and credits any time of the day.

PS.: I'm also hoping 2046 gets a standalone release with English subs somewhere. We'll probably have to import the South Korean disc.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#829 Post by yoloswegmaster » Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:03 pm

soundchaser wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:35 pm
yoloswegmaster wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:24 am
Watch out, you're about to be called a Criterion fanboy.
Since this is clearly aimed at me, I’ll direct you to my actual post on the subject:
soundchaser wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:27 am
kekid wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:15 am
Given all the unfavorable comments on this set, can someone tell us why anyone should consider buying this set?
This is the only in-print disc available for a lot of these films, so if you just want something you can walk in a shop and buy for a (semi) reasonable price and don’t care about the changes, I could see it being convenient. That said, I think most people posting here are probably willing to put in the work to find other releases should they so choose.

Other than that? Criterion fanboy completionism.
Notice the entire first paragraph, where I describe reasons for buying the set that sound very much like schellenbergk’s? You clearly think I’m being uncharitable, but I don’t agree — and even if I were, you can’t deny that the ethos of Criterion is one of the reasons this set is getting fawned over by critics and (yes) label fanboys. If Kino or Shout! Factory or another label with less prestige released these “restorations,” there would be scores of people warning others off the discs, demanding replacement programs, and trashing the company.

I don’t know why you’ve had it in for me for almost 30 pages and 5 months of thread when I’ve clearly explained why I think the problems with this set are serious, but I wish you’d stop pretending that I hate the company or that I’m upset about this release for no reason, when neither is the case. I think uncritical worship of anything, especially a company that exists to make money, is a far more pressing issue than my using the word “fanboy.”
My comment was just a joke poking fun at the general attitude of the thread, nothing more. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "having it in for you for 30 pages and 5 months" since I haven't had any sort of interaction with you outside of your complaints of the thread on Reddit ignoring the problems with the set (which wasn't even true since there were multiple comments on there voice their disapproval on the various aspects of it). This set also isn't really being fawned as much as you think, especially since there are large amounts of people who have had complaints about it, and are demanding disc replacement programs for the discs that seem to be stopping at random moments.
hearthesilence wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:20 pm
A few quick questions:

Is 2046 supposed to get a standalone release anywhere?
Didn't Nova Media say that they were going to be releasing all of WKW's films? I would expect them to release a standalone version of 2046.

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Elizabeth Corday
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#830 Post by Elizabeth Corday » Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:09 am

Hi! I'm new to the forums. I have a decent collection of criterion stuff. Hope to see La Ceremonie and such get releases someday.

I paid a lot for this boxset. But I'm starting to worry that I wasted it. I'm currently on DOBW. For what its worth I have the old DVD copy of ITMFL.

As Tears Go By was....ehh. Not happy about the cat scene. Trying to figure out is Leslie or Maggie the main character in Days of Being Wild?

Other than that the only WKW film I've seen before is ITMFL. Am I making a huge mistake going forward? I heard about FA, CE, and ITMFL transfers being bad...and HT. It's troubling. I am enjoying the boxset tho. I want to believe in his vision but I'm being cautious .

(Random but there's something striking about blonde wig lady)

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#831 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:22 am

Welcome Elizabeth --

I suspect if you have not seen the films in any form before, the changes that (rightly, in my opinion) distress people who have seen (and loved) the original versions will not affect your enjoyment. Just judge them as essentially "new" works (something us old-timers can't really do easily -- if at all).

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#832 Post by MichaelB » Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:37 am

What he said. I suspect I'm not going to have too many problems with the Criterion set either, partly because I have the older versions of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and In the Mood for Love anyway, but mostly because I've only seen the films in the box once or twice apiece (and I can barely remember 2046 from its original cinema release), so I doubt I'd even notice any changes if they hadn't been pointed out.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#833 Post by cdnchris » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:12 pm

Elizabeth Corday wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:09 am
Hi! I'm new to the forums. I have a decent collection of criterion stuff. Hope to see La Ceremonie and such get releases someday.

I paid a lot for this boxset. But I'm starting to worry that I wasted it. I'm currently on DOBW. For what its worth I have the old DVD copy of ITMFL.

As Tears Go By was....ehh. Not happy about the cat scene. Trying to figure out is Leslie or Maggie the main character in Days of Being Wild?

Other than that the only WKW film I've seen before is ITMFL. Am I making a huge mistake going forward? I heard about FA, CE, and ITMFL transfers being bad...and HT. It's troubling. I am enjoying the boxset tho. I want to believe in his vision but I'm being cautious .

(Random but there's something striking about blonde wig lady)
I'm in agreement with the two Michaels above. I'm underwhelmed by the set overall for a number of reasons and I agree with some of the concerns (like Fallen Angels), but I also think there's hyperbole around other titles (I don't think Chungking looks all that different and will take the new presentation over the older, dated one), with some room in between for other titles. Also, I needed some of the alterations pointed out to me. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it all that much.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#834 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:14 pm

I just finished watching Days of Being Wild again. This time I watched the second release of the Mega Star DVD which has a cleaner but darker image and less green tint than their first DVD. In the Mood for Love is still my favorite WKW film and Days of Being Wild has always been my second favorite. DoBW is moving closer and closer to catching up with ItMfL. Since these two films and 2046 are considered a loose trilogy, part of the fun (for me) is figuring out why they are considered as such and how the characters fit into this “trilogy”. I might have unexpectedly found a piece of this puzzle in David Bordwell’s write-up on the alternate version of DoBW in the link above. I won’t get into the detail of it because it might spoil the fun for others.

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tenia
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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#835 Post by tenia » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:30 am

Yeah, I suppose most changes will only be caught by people used to the original versions, while newcomers are unlikely to realise it's not exactly the same movies.

Still, on a larger matter, if you're looking at another river, then can you say you saw the first river ? I feel it can be like the gradings controversies from Ritrovata and Eclair : you might not realise the grading is probably more representative of the labs than the movies' original look, but then, what are you looking at exactly ? Does the version you're looking at convey visually what it was supposed to originally ?

I don't think it's unfair to take some arguments here as hyperboles, since indeed, I doubt you can spot most of the differences with either a A/B comparison but quite a solid knowledge of the movies, but if even WKW says they're different iterations of the same movies, then, I wonder if they're also meant to convey the same ideas and emotions. If not, then, I believe it can be problematic, as if we were people looking at different versions of, say, Guernica. How can we then exchange about it, what it contains, what it means, what we can feel from it ?
Last edited by tenia on Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#836 Post by Zot! » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:55 am

schellenbergk wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:13 am
Dissenting voice here - I'm really loving this set. I've only seen two of WKW's films before as I noted elsewhere so these are new to me. My only gripes are minor: the unfolding puzzle-box seems over-designed to me, and I don't get why some of the book's pages are glued together.

But the films are astounding, and I'm happy to have these seven all together in one director-approved package.

Dare I say it - this is my vote for set of the year?
I think the other piece of the puzzle that we have skirted around, is that besides their intrinsic quality, the films in this set are for, I would guess, a great many of us of certain generation personally relevant concerning our interest in cinema. Definitely for me, Chris Doyle and WKW were superstars, and the films much more than good films, they were inspiring and opened up broad explorations into everything from Cassavettes, cinematography, and to the entirity of Hong Kong, if not world cinema. They were epochal, universal, original films that spoke on multiple levels. I don't think it is unfair to say these were our 400 Blows, Seven Samurai, or Seventh Seal. And it was happening NOW and in that era, since you had to work to see more, it was the ultimate gateway into rare films screenings, auteur cinema, importing films, etc...

So yeah, I'm sure the current versions still have the power to impress, but it's not the whole story. [/sobstory]

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#837 Post by jegharfangetmigenmyg » Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:53 am

tenia wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:30 am
Still, on a larger matter, if you're looking at another river, then can you say you saw the first river ? I feel it can be like the gradings controversies from Ritrovata and Eclair : you might not realise the grading is probably more representative of the labs than the movies' original look, but then, what are you looking at exactly ? Does the version you're looking at convey visually what it was supposed to originally ?
This is actually a very legitimate point. Personally, I have yet to go through Wong's filmography, outside of his most heralded film, In the Mood for Love, so initially I was very happy to hear about this new set. However, going through this thread has definitely given me my doubts.

But going back to your point (and trying not to sound too whataboutist), it is definitely an interesting question whether a RItrovata'ed transfer of a late director's film is more or less legitimate than an altered transfer that Wong himself has approved. You could apply the same question to the original Star Wars trilogy, saying that younger generations who weren't around to see the films back then, would rather see modern CGI effects than (maybe in their minds) laughable live action dolls, etc. And why are Disney Corp. remaking all of their classic animated films into live action CGI nightmares (other than to make a hell of a lot of money, of course)? Is it also because the younger generations of today find purely animated features old fashioned and even childish? How often have you heard the ignorant statement that "black and white films are boring"? Because they don't have color and therefore don't look modern/realistic. It really comes down to the question, what is art?, I think.

What struck me when I read your post is that of course you're right. I haven't seen Wong's films, so no, it probably wouldn't matter too much to me that the grading has shifted and that some scenes are black and white. What would annoy me, though – and I guess that Fallen Angels could be problematic here – is if I sense that the image has been cropped. To me there's nothing worse than a 1.66 image that has been cropped to 16:9, cutting off the top of the actors' heads and squeezing all air out of the frame. Also, even though I haven't seen the originals, the color grading can objectively alter the entire feel of the film.

To sum it up: I'm a bit on the fence about this one, but I feel that Fallen Angels would by far be the easiest one of these to rightfully attack. I guess I would take Wong's word with regards to the extreme green tinting of Days of Being Wild and to a lesser to extent In the Mood for Love which, given the film's original, much warmer look, indeed does feel like a bit of an afterthought. There hasn't been found any "evidence" of Wong / Doyle saying back then that they would have liked the film to look greener, has there? But then again, maybe he did it to tie it together with DoBW and 2046?

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#838 Post by barbarella satyricon » Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:35 am

This thread will develop into an epistemology seminar, with maybe another screencap dump or two, and some isolated flareups of extreme boxset hateration here and there. Eventually, somewhere down the line (thread page 45, 46?), people will be checking in to say that they’ve picked up the set used and cheap somewhere, that they’re living with, not loving, the changes. Sorry for the flipness, mods and fellow posters. I’m never gonna buy this set new, but I still keep lurking here like it’s a serialized web novel.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#839 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:19 am

tenia wrote:Yeah, I suppose most changes will only be caught by people used to the original versions, while newcomers are unlikely to realise it's not exactly the same movies.

Still, on a larger matter, if you're looking at another river, then can you say you saw the first river ? I feel it can be like the gradings controversies from Ritrovata and Eclair : you might not realise the grading is probably more representative of the labs than the movies' original look, but then, what are you looking at exactly ? Does the version you're looking at convey visually what it was supposed to originally ?

I don't think it's unfair to take some arguments here as hyperboles, since indeed, I doubt you can spot most of the differences with either a A/B comparison but quite a solid knowledge of the movies, but if even WKW says they're different iterations of the same movies, then, I wonder if they're also meant to convey the same ideas and emotions. If not, then, I believe it can be problematic, as if we were people looking at different versions of, say, Guernica. How can we then exchange about it, what it contains, what it means, what we can feel from it ?
Same question really if you watch an old and faded print. Or watch on a tv not properly calibrated. Or with the sound low vs high; at an angle vs head on; close up vs far away; with a loud or silent audience. And speaking of rivers, there’s that Heraclitus idea that you can’t step in the same river twice, so are we really ever watching the same film? Add to that, is the colour green I see really the same green everyone else sees, and am I even the same person today I was yesterday let alone when I last saw the film and...oh, this is the getting caught in an epistemological morass the other poster mentioned.

But then some artists embrace fissure, uncertainty, fluidity, différance. Some painters produce different versions of the same painting. Writers like Milorad Pavic and, just last year, Percival Everett, publish books whose texts may have subtle differences inside depending on which copy you happen to grab. Some do this accidentally (an inexperienced David Mitchell did more copy editing between publication of the British and American copies of Cloud Atlas, so you’re getting a slightly different book depending on the country you’re in). Or time takes it up: have fun talking about Shakespeare when no two editions even have the same text.

You raise good questions, but they’re very old questions, and to me questions that are problematic in a good way.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#840 Post by MichaelB » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:38 am

Apparently Paul Cézanne couldn't resist touching up his canvases, even after they'd been sold.

And I was vividly reminded the other week of the fact that my wife and I process moving-image media fundamentally differently when I was rhapsodising about watching films on the Oculus Quest 2 (which doesn't just reproduce the effect of a huge cinema screen but even lets you sit in a 3-D virtual auditorium and pick your favourite seat) and she genuinely couldn't see the point - to her, a 58" telly was more than sufficient.

But she grew up with the small screen whereas my film education largely came courtesy of the golden age of London rep cinemas, so to me 58" is still absurdly small and our acquisition of a VR headset marks the first time I've been able to create a largely convincing simulacrum of the big-screen experience at home. In particular, my eyes now roam around the frame in the way that they do in the cinema but can't really duplicate on a smaller screen. (It's particularly good with 1.37:1/4:3 material, which is often diminished on modern viewing set-ups.)

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#841 Post by soundchaser » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:17 am

I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that I'm color blind...

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#842 Post by barbarella satyricon » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:12 am

Completely anecdotal bit of sharing (my favorite non-helpful genre of posts, both mine and yours):

Last week, I came to acquire, almost like it was dropped into my lap, a used Korean 2-disc dvd set (those are all the modifiers, promise) of Chungking Express and Fallen Angels. Again, DVD, so basically junk to anyone who’s posting here with any seriousness. But it was supposedly an “HD remaster“ of the films (speaking in terms relative to when the set was first released), and projected on a big canvas sheet from a rinky-dink projector had on the cheap, 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. Of course I wouldn’t have wanted that particularly humble setup to have been anyone’s first experience of the films, but as a casual weekend double-bill of old favorites, I really couldn’t want for anything more.

If all that might contribute to the current tangent, I think it might be that, yes, it’s impossible to ever recapture and re-experience some previous and situationally particularized viewing of a film. There are too many variables, ones both consciously picked up on and processed, and others on which one would have no real conscious grasp, be they the slightest variations in hues and shades, or something really hypothetical and crazy like the exact movements of film grain and/or digital noise. The anecdote above is to say, then, that maybe the “film” I’d come to love all those years was actually the dvd iteration that had been my go-to at the time, and that no brand spanking new version of Chungking Express will ever match up to those (subjectively mutable) memories formed long ago. Maybe it was that very “dvd-ness” of the image that I had grown accustomed and attached to, even after viewings on 35mm, and what I was picking up on again with my recent bit of yard sale find.

And, preemptively, of course I still agree with anyone saying that the discs in this set should really look like improved digital versions of the films as they’d been most widely seen and heard all along up to now, not perceptibly altered versions of them. I’d agree with all that, a hundred times over. And the current Fallen Angels is a whole ’nother set of issues, a big old bag of hurt, from where I’m standing.

Anecdotal post, contributing to the confusion and unrest.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#843 Post by tenia » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:55 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:19 am
You raise good questions, but they’re very old questions, and to me questions that are problematic in a good way.
They're definitely old questions, and problematic indeed in a good way than in a bad one.
I would however say that most of the first examples you gave aren't elements that are willingly altering the presentations : a faded print, a poor seat placement, a loud audience, these are things that aren't deliberate as an artist willingly altering its piece of work. It's also, I think, not the same as the restorer adding their personal touch to it so much that it overcomes some of the work's aesthetic.
It'd fit, however, with your second list of examples, or Michael's one (IIRC, Balzac was also famous for altering ad nauseam his work, but only before his editor would forcibly take his manuscripts from his hands and send them to the press once and for all), or things possibly being lost in translation.

It seems however something a bit newer with movies, probably because it's a newer media and art to begin with, but also possibly because "we" have become a bit more capable of spotting those differences than before.

In any case, it's just my 2 cents regarding what seems to me to simply be a case of what "restoring" should mean.

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World of Wong Kar Wai

#844 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:38 pm

tenia wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:19 am
You raise good questions, but they’re very old questions, and to me questions that are problematic in a good way.
I would however say that most of the first examples you gave aren't elements that are willingly altering the presentations : a faded print, a poor seat placement, a loud audience, these are things that aren't deliberate as an artist willingly altering its piece of work. It's also, I think, not the same as the restorer adding their personal touch to it so much that it overcomes some of the work's aesthetic.
They’re the same in that they all affect the same philosophic question you raised: what movie are you actually watching? A lot more than ill-advised directorial fiddling is at work. To go back to paintings, what are we really looking at when a painting is old, cracked, and faded—and in what sense are we looking at the same painting if it’s restored?

Digital media has I think cemented an idea that wasn’t realizable before in film: perfect replication of the art object; the viewing experience as purity. Before digital media, one could hope for an ideal viewing experience in a theatre, say, but it would never be a perfect replication of the artist’s intended object or even any other viewing experience of the same film. Projector quality, bulb dimness, theatre quality, and the print itself (no two of which had precisely the same grain and scratches, so that each print would count as its own unique art object) would alter the visual experience, even if only in small ways. And home video up to DVD was at best an approximation of watching celluloid. One was never quite watching the same thing. (Classical music lovers will shrug their shoulders here).

With 4K scans and restorations, there’s now an expectation of the art object existing in a purity of presentation, all experiences using the exact same replication, from HD projection down to 4K home theatres and VR. This is a uniformity film never had before. The standard or ideal experience is endlessly replicable. The art object has seemingly been stabilized.

This is part of why Wong’s revisionism and altered colour timing from houses like Ritrovata hurts like an exposed nerve to so many: faulty presentations or altered art works are becoming the presentation standard for posterity, impure art objects now the accepted pure form to be endlessly replicated. Rather than preserving an ideal version of the original celluloid experience from back when the first prints were struck, it’s like the original celluloid has been replaced, the 4K scan (or what have you) now being the definitive, stable version for presentation. The ‘real’ original has become a phantom. Given enough time, one could come to ponder if it truly existed at all.


I’m ambivalent, personally. I sympathize with the detractors, but I also recognize what they want is a bit of a phantom, that technology is changing our relationship to art, and that without revisionism we would have inferior versions of some of our greatest artworks. It’s scary and interesting.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#845 Post by senseabove » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:12 pm

It's your friendly broken record back again to say that the responsibilities of the scholar, archivist, and restorer are not interchangeable with the concerns and experience of the viewer. The epistemology of aesthetic experience need not be used to gut accepted, standard archival practice.

Yes, it's an interesting topic; meanwhile, the film stock is degrading.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#846 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:36 pm

senseabove wrote:It's your friendly broken record back again to say that the responsibilities of the scholar, archivist, and restorer are not interchangeable with the concerns and experience of the viewer. The epistemology of aesthetic experience need not be used to gut accepted, standard archival practice.

Yes, it's an interesting topic; meanwhile, the film stock is degrading.
You’re losing perspective, man. You’re talking like we here on criterionforum dot org are “scholars, archivists, and restorers,” and not, you know, random people on a discussion forum.

What do you imagine should be happening right now? We all drop an interesting discussion and run out to save some film stock we don’t own and have nothing to do with? This is a discussion forum. Interesting topics are the only reason we’re here. Like, what a weird thing to chide over.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#847 Post by senseabove » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:19 pm

Sorry—that sounded more targeted that I meant it to and really wasn't mean to be chiding. I had actually written it in the Quick Reply box before your post, but got pulled away for a meeting, during which you posted, and I only clicked Submit after.

I just meant to reiterate that there are principles grounding practical responses to the questions in the past several posts. And yes, I do find it frustrating that those seem to be regularly bypassed when "random people on a discussion forum" are hashing out the effect of nostalgia, memory, theatrical viewing angles, and DVD color timing on polluted rivers, and that's probably coming through. I don't think everyone should shut up and run for the vaults, but when I am king, everyone will have to stop and read something like Leo Enticknap's short, thorough, and very readable Film Restoration: The Culture and Science of Audiovisual Heritage before another round of tail-chasing commences.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#848 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:43 pm

I’d wager principal underlies few of the negative responses in this thread, and that by and large people are upset less as film archival enthusiasts than as everyday viewers.

And, while film preservation is something I know to be important, I am way, way more invested in how films generate meaning and how we as audiences experience that. This is why you pretty well never see me in the midst of the endless colour grading bitch fests whenever Ritrovata fucks up another restoration or Criterion puts out a dark transfer. I care, like, for a post or two, but then I want to get back to discussing film.

I look forward to an analysis of how Wong’s altered versions change the meaning and effect of the films more than the next howl of dismay over the differences (much as I sympathize). From a consumer angle, the colours look shitty; from an archival angle, the refusal to scan the originals is troubling; but from a critical and analytical angle, this is a neat opportunity.

So you’ll find many more opportunities to be frustrated, as I just don’t see what more there is to say re: archival practise, while there’s tons more to be said critically and philosophically.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#849 Post by tenia » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:56 pm

It is, as you wrote, probably indeed more a question of archives and preservations. However, having found myself extremely disturbed by having discovered Autumn Sonata through the quite noticeably warm copy of Criterion's individual BD release only to now have a quite cold looking copy in the Bergman set and wondering if I was supposed to be taken aback by the visual warmth of a photography that might have never been supposed to be that noticeably warm, I do think that at some point, proper preservation and viewer experience conflate.

Or, to put it in another way : it's not a question of potential ideal representation than certain non-ideal one. Which is the issue at heart with the whole past years discussion re. gradings : not that we can't say for certain how it should look, but that it's quite certain it shouldn't like this. And no, preservation being now better that it was 25 years before doesn't excuse this. Just like everyday viewers' POV probably don't either. I mean, would they be any reference since they're, by default, mere "everyday viewers" ? If more knowledgeable, wouldn't they start being enthusiasts instead, thus falling in the other category ?

We probably are at a technological point when things can be done in a competent fashion. Maybe it does make some of us (myself included) feeling entitled somewhat to restorations being as transparent to the source as possible, but such a request doesn't look like being that entitled. Especially when in parallel, the same technology is precisely the one enabling directors, DPs and labs to alter movies in ways that are actually specific to these techs.

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Re: World of Wong Kar Wai

#850 Post by soundchaser » Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:14 pm

senseabove wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:19 pm
I don't think everyone should shut up and run for the vaults, but when I am king, everyone will have to stop and read something like Leo Enticknap's short, thorough, and very readable Film Restoration: The Culture and Science of Audiovisual Heritage before another round of tail-chasing commences.
If you could make this cost slightly less than a purebred dog, I'd be all over it.

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