Saturday, October 11, 2008

ASHES OF TIME REDUX Plus - Part 2 of 2

Ashes of Time Redux screened at the Ziegfled Theater as part of the New York Film Festival. The older restored theater added to the mood for watching this swordsman movie.

Before the movie Wong Kar-Wai, Chris Doyle and Brigitte Lin spoke. A longtime fan of "Miss Lin" as the moderator addressed her I wasn't prepared for the weepiness I felt as I was so overjoyed to see her in person. She's still very beautiful and has a captivating smile. She spoke in Mandarin which was translated for the audience. It was evident she understands English but felt more comfortable speaking in her native language.

Brigitte Lin after the earlier press screening on Friday, Oct 10th. Notice Chris Doyle taking photos of her too.

A Q & A was held after the movie. There's a three part Youtube video of comments by Wong Kar-Wai and Brigitte Lin plus comments and antics by Chris Doyle who seemed pretty trashed by this time. The videos are here: ASHES OF TIME REDUX@NYFF.

ASHES OF TIME REDUX is shorter by minutes, a few parts of scenes have been edited, some additions and some rearrangement have been done. Is it better/worse/less confusing than the original people ask? Yes, no, maybe. People need to answer that question for themselves. I've seen the original movie so many times that it's not confusing to me anymore. Both movies are so rich that new/different things are seen/can be seen with each viewing.

What's great about REDUX is the color. You can see so much that was in darkness in the DVDs. It's a mutli layered story and in this version you can see how the layers are reflected in the textures and colors of the setting and in the costumes. Every actor wears clothing that has wrinkles, crinkles, layers or raised embellishments. The desert has texture and the structure where the characters hang out has textured walls and floors. Patterns are reflected by light everywhere. The pottery the characters eat and drink from has different textures. Enough gushing from me. Look at the pictures below from the movie website. Then see the movie, see the movie, see the movie!

Leslie Cheung as Ouyang Feng sits atop a large rock over looking the desert.

Leslie Cheung as Ouyang Feng and Jacky Cheung as Hong Qi. Notice the richness of the costumes and attention to detail by art director William Chang.

Carina Lau as Peach Blossom. Notice the contrast between her clear skin and the textured wall behind her.

Brigitte Lin as Murong Yin stands by a birdcage. Again notice colors and textures in the costumes and light reflected on her face from the birdcage.

Brigitte Lin as Murong Yang the swordsman in a textured costume of contrasting colors.

I don't consider myself a weepy or overly emotional person but seeing Brigitte Lin in person and then watching one of my favorite actors, the late Leslie Cheung, star in a movie so full of emotional and physical intensity left me feeling drained. But not too drained to listen to the original soundtrack (ASHES OF TIME REDUX soundtrack isn't released yet) on my drive home.


YTSL said...

sbk --

Thanks so much for the two Ashes of Time Redux accounts.

Re Brigitte and languages: Remember that she spoke some English lines in "Chungking Express" (one of the few films in which her voice can be heard)? Speaking of that: Would it be correct to assume that the theatrical version of "Ashes of Time Redux" is in Cantonese? If so, we're hearing all of the main cast's real voices... bar for Brigitte's!

Re feeling drained: I'm amazed you had the energy to drive home afterwards! I don't think that would have!

YTSL said...

P.S. That image of Carina -- does it appear in "Ashes of Time Redux"??

sbk said...

Hi ytsl,

Brigitte spoke Mandarin and the other actors spoke Cantonese. It sounded like her voice but I could be wrong. To me it sounded like her voice in the Q & A.

I can't remember exactly about the image of Carina but I think so though again I could be wrong.

eliza bennet said...

Hello SBK :)

It is good that you have enjoyed Redux and I wished I was as happy as you were but I felt that the film was made easier which took away some of its charm. I actually liked (and own) the original soundtrack so the changes in the track didn't really work for me.

Watching Brigitte was a joy though since she looks not only stunning but also graceful, beautiful and strong. Really I don't think any actress today (in the world) can come close.

I agree that details were visible but I didn't like what they did to Leslie flashback scenes (they looked DV to me) and also some scenes were grainy...

Anyway all in all I think that this film has an easier to open package but I still prefer the old one.

Doyle is great to listen to since he is a talkative guy who loves to gossip, at the time I saw him he was constantly drinking Turkish beer throught the interview but never really seemed drunk.

YTSL said...

Hi again sbk --

"Brigitte spoke Mandarin and the other actors spoke Cantonese."

Woah, that means that they went for a version where you hear *all* of the actors' real voices. Cool (even though linguistically, it may be a bit weird)!

"I can't remember exactly about the image of Carina but I think so though again I could be wrong."

It's on the famous poster and the cover of the photo book but I really can't recall seeing it in the original film. So... it'll be interesting to see whether it appears (and in what context) in Redux.

Glenn, kenixfan said...

I watched some clips on YouTube of the event's Q&A and Doyle was really obnoxious.

Like, if you were in a pub in England -- or Australia in his case -- and you saw him, you'd probably go to the other end of the place just to avoid him.

sbk said...

Hi Eliza Bennet,

I'm glad you saw the movie and was happy to read your comments.

I agree with you that REDUX was made easier and think your "easier to open package"is a good way to describe the movie. If I hadn't seen the original so many times I'd probably agree that new version lacks some of the charm of the original movie. As I said I like both versions. Maybe after viewing REDUX several times I'll have a different opinion...

I'm such a Leslie fan and so enjoy watching him on a big screen that I didnt mind(though I did notice) the so so quality of the flashbacks.

hi again ytsl,

I would rather hear actors speak in their own voices than be dubbed so everyone speaks the same language. It takes a while to get used to and I'm always vaguely aware that one actor is speaking Cantonese, etc and the other Mandarin, etc but I don't let it bother me too much.

I also will be happy to know the answer to your Carina question. And a little embarassed I didn't pay closer attention.

Hi Glenn,

I was interested in Brigitte Lin and didn't think Doyle was obnoxious as much as just talking too much when 'Miss Lin" could be speaking.

eliza bennet said...

I remember Carina doing something with her hair but not that particular shot.

Doyle is aggressive but fun. The stories he told when I saw him were really interesting and since it was a workshop for current and future cinematographers there were lots of work related questions to which he replied with much enthusiasm and eagerness with yet more stories from his experiences.

sbk said...

hi eliza bennet,

How lucky for you to hear Chris Doyle in a more professional workshop. When not making jokes or fooling around I found him to be articulate, his observations astute and his answers to questions interesting. Plus he was encouraging to young film students.