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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Archive for the ‘Ashes of Time’ Category

My Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s — WKW is A-OK

Chungking Express

Lesson learned from watching Chungking Express and Amelie: stalking is totally okay…if you’re a doe-eyed cutie

I’d wager vital parts of my anatomy that Chungking Express is probably the first Wong Kar-Wai film that most Americans saw. It took the top slot in the Reader’s Poll, and although I didn’t vote it #1, I probably would’ve if you’d asked me ten or eleven years ago. When I first saw this flick via Quentin Tarantino’s now defunct Rolling Thunder label (The fact that they never released Rolling Thunder itself  boggles the mind), and I honestly didn’t know what to think of the movie once I’d finished it. Confused, challenged, yet strangely exhilarated, Chungking Express was like no Hong Kong movie I’d seen before — and that’s actually saying something if you think about how weird, wild, and downright nutty Hong Kong cinema can get. Interestingly enough, it was an experience that I would have repeatedly when watching other Wong Kar-Wai films.

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Rehashes of Time

To my deep dissatisfaction, I missed seeing Ashes of Time Redux on the big screen when it was shown at one of the arthouse theatres here in Santa Cruz. In fact, the damn thing lasted all of ONE WEEK, a turn of events which proved hugely disappointing to me when I looked up showtimes online only to find that the film had been replaced with some piece of crap indie flick. Thankfully, Ashes of Time Redux eventually made its way to DVD on March 3, 2009, and I was pretty stoked on seeing it from the comfort of my own home.

Jacky 01Jacky 02

Ashes of Time (left), Ashes of Time Redux (right)

However, in the midst of a sea of essays to grade, term papers to write, and various assorted responsibilities to attend to, I postponed a viewing of Wong Kar-Wai’s re-edit until my Spring Break vacation. I had the full intention of reviewing the movie for LoveHKFilm.com, but as fate would have it, Kozo beat me to the punch. In some ways, this actually turned out to be a good thing. For one, I agree with pretty much everything Kozo said in his very well-written and insightful review, so it’s not like I had something better to contribute. And two, as I tried to compose my thoughts on the film, I realized that reviewing a restored and/or re-edited film – rather than a wholly original work – is, in some ways, a thankless task. Basically, even if you try to review the film on its own merits, one’s critique eventually breaks down into an exercise in “contrast and compare.” And really, isn’t that what fans of the original movie actually want – What’s different about the new movie? What’s cut out? Did he put anything in? Did Wong Kar-Wai ruin his own movie?

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