On certain days, “Chunking Express” is my favorite movie, and Wong Kar-wai is my favorite director. So the fact that his latest film, “The Grandmaster,” is opening in Buffalo next Friday (August 30) thrills me.
It has been a long-time coming. It feels like his last release, 2008’s “Ashes of Time Redux,” was a decade ago, and his last “real” film, “My Blueberry Nights,” seems like it came out two decades ago.
“The Grandmaster” has been talked about for several years, and its production was downright epic. But now it is here, and that means we are being flooded with interviews, appreciations, reviews, and more.
One example is a very good interview he did with Slant. One question in particular jumped out to me:
Slant: I’ve seen two different cuts of the film, and there was plenty of “exclusive” footage in each. If it weren’t for that lack of patience among audiences, would you like to release a version that comprises most of the footage, one that would be as long as most Leone movies? Or are the running times dictated by other things?
“Yeah, sadly, today, the distribution of films is very competitive, so in China we can afford to release this film at two hours and 10 minutes, but we have an obligation to release this film under two hours in the United States. But I don’t just want to do a shorter version, do some trimming, take out some scenes, because I think the structure of the Chinese version is very delicate, and very precise. So instead I want to do a new version, I want to tell this story in a different way. And in fact, American cinema, besides Chinese cinema, has the longest history with kung-fu films. So I think we can focus and go directly to the story. In the Chinese version, it’s really about time. And here [in the U.S.] it’s really about character. We follow the story of Ip Man and go through this world of martial arts.”
Hmm. I hope we have a chance to see both cuts here in the States, perhaps on DVD; methinks I’ll be buying an import copy. This is tricky, though. WKW seems pretty cool about it all above, but check out this breakdown of the crucial differences between the U.S. and Hong Kong edits on Film.com.
Let’s take a look at some cool articles etc. on WKW and his films.
- Here is the second American trailer for “The Grandmaster”
- Zhang Ziyi talks “Grandmaster” training.
- Ranking the film’s fight sequences.
- The Weinstein Company has brought in Martin Scorsese and Samuel L. Jackson (huh) to “present” the film.
- Some making-of videos.
- The Film Stage has a documentary on his great “In the Mood for Love.”
- The Playlist tackles his entire back catalog — I think they were a bit harsh on “My Blueberry Nights,” although I can’t disagree with many of the criticisms — and this link also offers the complete short films of WKW.
- More Playlist: Jessica Kiang’s Berlin Film Fest review, along with a review of the American cut by Rodrigo Perez.
- I love this: A mix of music from the films of WKW.
- Last but not least, me, talking “Chunking Express.” I wrote this at the end of my first week posting on this site.
Photo from Slant article: Wong Kar Wai on the set of “The Grandmaster.” [PHOTO: THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY]