Ashes of Time Redux
Hard to say how the sumptuous Hong Kong stylist Wong Kar Wai’s moodily swashbuckling 1994 martial-arts epic ranks in the annals of recut, rereleased films that were OK to begin with. It still has that narrative incoherence, that lulling, soporific quality and apparent self-enchantment—like, yes, we get it, the light looks really pretty coming through the spinning birdcage, but what exactly is happening?! But it also has the punched-up color saturation in cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s already gorgeous desert scenes, not to mention the edit-proof charisma of its stars: Tony Leung Ka Fai, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung and Brigitte Lin, together in a tale of heartbreak, vengeance and other modes of emotional desolation. That you really need to see this on the big screen because it’ll be almost impossible to follow otherwise is obviously a mixed blessing. But do it.