4K

Wong Kar Wai’s long-awaited if controversial restorations are making their way to the UK streaming throughout February 2021 with physical screenings planned for such time as cinemas are able to reopen. After launching via ICA’s Cinema 3, seven of the newly restored classics will be available to stream via BFI Player from 8th February.

As Tears Go By


Hong Kong. 1988. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung. 102min. Digital 4K. 18
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool. A Janus Films release.

4K

Wong Kar-Wai’s moody triad debut stars a young Andy Lau as a lovelorn petty gangster who is forced to host a distant cousin (Maggie Cheung) when she comes to the city to seek medical treatment for a respiratory illness. It is worth noting that the new restoration streams in the original Cantonese language track rather than the Mandarin dub previously released in the UK and therefore features the iconic Cantopop cover of Take My Breath Away. If nothing else, the film deserves an accolade for the most oblique cinematic I Love You in the unforgettable line “I found that glass”. Review.

(Clip from previous release)

Days of Being Wild

Hong Kong. 1990. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leslie Cheung, Carina Lau, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau. 94min. Digital 4K. 12A
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool. A Janus Films release.

Leslie Cheung stars as a restless Casanova unable to reconcile himself to his sense of rootlessness in maternal confusion while breaking hearts all over Hong Kong from the sweet and innocent Maggie Cheung who later falls for sad policeman Andy Lau to vivacious cabaret dancer Carina Lau who falls into a self-destructive spiral following the end of their affair.

Chungking Express

Hong Kong. 1994. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro. 102min. Digital 4K. 12A
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, Jet Tone, One Cool, and 3H Sound Studio. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.

4K

A snapshot of ’90s Hong Kong, elliptical romance Chungking Express follows two lovelorn policemen each confronted by heartbreak as Takeshi Kaneshiro accidentally becomes involved with jaded assassin Brigitte Lin while Tony Leung Chiu-wai is semi-stalked by pixieish fast food stall counter-girl Faye Wong.

Fallen Angels

Hong Kong. 1995. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leon Lai Ming, Michelle Reis, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Charlie Young Choi Nei, Karen Mok Man Wai. 99min. Digital 4K. 15
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, Jet Tone, and One Cool. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.

4K

A quasi-sequel to Chungking Express, Fallen Angels features two intersecting stories one again featuring Kaneshiro but this time as a crazed criminal recently escaped from prison who falls for a mysterious woman whose boyfriend left her for a woman called “Blondie” who is also a point of tension between hitman Leon Lai and his partner who lives in Kaneshiro’s building.

Happy Together

Hong Kong. 1997. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen. 96min. Digital 4K. 15
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, Jet Tone, and One Cool. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.

4K

A landmark for LGBTQ+ representation, Wong’s 1997 tragic romance stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Leslie Cheung as melancholy lovers who move to Argentina in an attempt to save their relationship only to break up and sporadically return to one another.

In the Mood for Love

Hong Kong. 2000. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung Man Yuk. 98min. Digital 4K. PG
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with Jet Tone Films, L’Immagine Ritrovata, One Cool, and Robert Mackenzie Sound. Supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.

Wong’s undoubted masterpiece and international breakthrough once again stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung, this time as betrayed spouses in ’60s Hong Kong who begin to fall in love despite themselves as they bond in shared loneliness but are unable to act on their desires.

2046

Hong Kong. 2004. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Tony Leung, Gong Li, Faye Wong, Takuya Kimura, Ziyi Zhang, Carina Lau, Chang Chen, Dong Jie, Maggie Cheung, Bird Thongchai McIntyre. 129min. Digital 4K. 12A
The 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the original 35mm elements by Sony Pictures Classics, in collaboration with Jet Tone Films,
L’Immagine Ritrovata, One Cool, and Robert Mackenzie Sound. The restoration was approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

A quasi-sequel to In the Mood for Love and Days of Being of Wild, 2046 follows Tony Leung Chiu Wai’s Chow Mo-wan as he struggles to overcome his longing for Maggie Cheung, romancing Days of Being Wild’s Carina Lau, observing the lovelorn landlord’s daughter Faye Wong as she struggles in her romance with Japanese tourist Takuya Kimura, entering a complicated relationship with 2046 resident Zhang Ziyi, and continuing to chase the past with gambler Gong Li who has the same name as the woman he can’t forget.

Screening at BFI Southbank (once reopened)

Ashes of Time Redux

Hong Kong. 2008. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Carina Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Charlie Young, Jacky Cheung, Maggie Cheung. 93min. 35mm. 15

This notoriously troubled production finds Wong in wuxia territory in the company of his frequent collaborators Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Carina Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Charlie Young, Jacky Cheung, and Maggie Cheung for a prequel to the well-known tale The Legend of the Condor Heroes. With the original negatives of the film apparently lost, the 2008 “Redux” edition was re-edited and rescored from existing prints.

The Hand (Extended Cut)

Hong Kong. 2004. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Gong Li, Chang Chen. 56min. Digital. 15

The director’s cut of Wong’s contribution to the 2004 anthology Eros stars Chang Chen (Happy Together, 2046, The Grandmaster) as a diffident tailor’s assistant who is sent to measure up high end call girl Gong Li in heady ’60s Hong Kong.

My Blueberry Nights

China/France/USA/Hong Kong. 2007. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Norah Jones, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman. 90min. 35mm. 12A

Despite an A-list roster of Hollywood talent, Wong’s international feature debut failed to live up to his homegrown reputation with critics often remarking that his attempt to reconfigure his key concerns for an American milieu inauthentic at best as he follows a Norah Jones on a US road trip through heartbreak and despair.

The Grandmaster

Hong Kong/China. 2013. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Xiao Shenyang, Song Hye Kyo. 108min. Digital. 15

Starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wong’s long-awaited take on the Ip Man legend finds the grandmaster reflecting on the nature of kung fu while sparring with the daughter of an old rival played by Zhang Ziyi. On its domestic premiere, the film ran to 130 minutes and was then cut down to 123 for Berlin. The “international” cut screening here, however, runs to 108 minutes and is so extensively re-edited as to constitute an entirely different film leaning heavier on action and on onscreen explanatory text. Still, Wong’s breathtaking fight sequences are present in the all their glory as is his melancholy romanticism. While not among the new restorations, The Grandmaster will also be available to stream via BFI Player.

The seven new restorations will be available to stream in the UK via BFI Player from 8th February and on ICA Cinema 3 for 14 days following the first screening.

%d bloggers like this: