Wong Kar-wai 4K restorations

Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, and the rest of Wong Kar-wai‘s acclaimed filmography is poised to receive the 4K restoration treatment by next year. The Hong Kong film director confirmed the restorations recently, indicating that new releases from Criterion are on the way. This is great news for fans of Wong’s work – especially sinceChungking Express has been out of print for a few years. More on the Wong Kar-wai 4K restorations below.

Wong Kar-wai is set to direct Blossoms, his first film since 2013, but he also has some other exciting news. Filmmaker Magazine recently revealed info regarding 4K restorations of all of Wong’s directorial efforts:

All Wong’s films are slated to receive brand-new 4K restorations and will be re-released as part of a touring package sometime in 2020. Wong’s own studio, Jet Tone Films, is behind the restorations (Janus/Criterion will have US rights), and he’s been taking a few titles along in his appearances here in Hawaii, as well as in New York and France. (The Hawaii festival, though, was blessed with a rare 35mm print for their showing of In the Mood For Love. The projection team had to find and assemble an entire 35mm projector for the screening, as the main venue no longer had one. Staffers imagined, in fact, that it could be the very last 35mm film screening ever in Honolulu).

“We’ve been working on these restorations for a long time,” the director said. “Next year is the 20th anniversary of In the Mood For Love, and around the world there will be retrospectives and reissues of the film, along with the other films. A few years ago I watched my film somewhere, looked at the monitor, and said, ‘Why does it look so messy?’ They said, ‘Now we are used to 4K projections, so you have to upgrade it, otherwise you will have those kind of feelings.’ We have been working on it. Last year in Lyon, we showed the restored films in front of 5000[-person] audiences, and it looked very, very good. The problem is that it’s like opening a Pandora’s box, because you will never never feel like it is good enough. You say, ‘It looked better before,’ or ‘The color is not right,’ etc. It brings up a lot of pains.”

This is great news overall. Wong’s filmography is visually sumptuous to begin with – the prospect of seeing it restored in 4K is too good to pass up. Hopefully Criterion will be releasing some sort of box set featuring everything – or at least individual titles.

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