From The Ashes Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2008-10-05 23:10:56 No comments

Purchase on Amazon

Back at A-KON this year, I blundered into a somewhat weatherbeaten copy of a DVD that at first didn't seem to have an English title. It took some squinting and peering at the thing under a strong light to make out the name Ashes of Time on the face of the disc.

I almost broke my own fingers digging out my wallet.

Ashes of Time was maverick Hong Kong director Kar-Wai Wong's foray into martial-arts epic territory, and it had roughly the same trajectory as a movie like Blade Runner. It was costly and long in the making, and a test of patience for all involved. Greeted with hostility and poor box office take on its release, it languished in obscurity at first but built up a cult following; in this case, fans of the director's other movies learned about it and sought out what few copies could be found on home video.

A decade ago, Wong started to buy up as many prints of the movie as he could find, since the original negatives had been stored poorly and were now disintegrating. For five years he poured his own money and sweat into restoring the movie, and it's now being released into theaters thanks to the good graces of Sony Pictures Classics.

The New York Times has a witeup.

Odds are the remastered version will be released on DVD as well. When it is, I plan on sitting down with it, along with a copy of the original, and giving both of them their day in the sun.

Tags: Hong Kong Kar-Wai Wong movies