Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cannes – Ashes of Time Redux

Is not that I needed reassurance but after reading some reviews about the premiere of the work of a young Wong Kar-wai, I know that I have to see this film. Check some comments.

"For Hong Kong, it was the decade from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, when directors like Tsui Hark and John Woo were revitalizing the crime film, and when young Wong Kar-wai was revolutionizing the misty romance. At the time, Hong Kong also had perhaps the world's greatest roster of glamorous stars, and prominent among them were Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, the two Tony Leungs, Jacky Cheung, Carina Lau and Charlie Young. All of them are in Wong's 1994 martial-arts reverie Ashes of Time, which had a special screening last night in a version revised by the director."

"The first surprise about Wong Kar-wai's revamped, re-edited and rescored version of his 1994 cult wuxia classic Ashes of Time is just how little has been changed," writes Lee Marshall in Screen Daily. "The second is how much these minor tweaks still have helped clarify the Hong Kong auteur's interpretation of Louis Cha's historical fantasy novel The Eagle-Shooting Hero, confirming that his most poetic, experimental film belongs not in the curiosity cabinet but on the big screen."

"Wong was not content merely to repeat or reinvigorate the genre when he began shooting Ashes of Time more than 15 years ago, but decided to reinvent it completely," writes Peter Brunette in the Hollywood Reporter. "[O]ne wonders what fecundity of imagination - or perversity of artistic willfulness - it took to shoot a costume epic that is made up almost entirely of dark rooms, close-ups and tightly constricted long shots... Wong's obsessive themes of memory, the irretrievability of the past and the impossibility of love, trump those of the traditional wuxia film, which tend to deal more with honor and the indomitability of the spirit."

"The original 1994 Ashes, which I haven't seen (it's available in a poorly done DVD version) apparently didn't make much sense, and it certainly doesn't now, but, lord, is it a vision to behold - a wuxia film turned into an abstract expressionist action painting," writes the Boston Globe's Ty Burr.

But this comment totally “kills” me.

“In the end we are left with the feeling that Wong has simply restored, rather than revisited, one of the most remarkable works of his career. Ashes Of Time uses its wuxia source material as a peg on which to hang a ravishing study in displaced, frustrated desire and loneliness, with a star-studded cast at their prime (Maggie Cheung has never looked more beautiful, or Tony Leung Ka-fai more tragically romantic). The drifters that pass through the film's remote desert locus are bound together by the film's narrator, the late Leslie Cheung, playing a world-weary agent who, for a fee, puts clients in touch with swordsmen-for-hire. Four years after Cheung's suicide, Ashes Of Time Redux reminds us of what a fine actor he was.”

Absolutely a must be seen for me!!!

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