Sony Pictures has formally announced the March 3rd Blu-ray and DVD release of ASHES OF TIME REDUX, director Wong Kar-wai’s remixed version of his 1994 wuxia masterpiece. To promote the release, they have offered up a video sneak peek at the film and the bonus materials that accompany it.
ASHES OF TIME REDUX is based on wuxia author Louis Cha’s 1957 classic “The Legend of the Condor Heroes.” It stars the late Leslie Cheung as Ouyang Feng, a heartbroken and cynical man who spends his days alone in the desert, connecting expert swordsmen with those seeking revenge and willing to pay for it. As Ouyang narrates his tale, interweaving the stories of his unusual clients, old friends and future foes, he begins to realize the mistakes of his own past, and how his fear of rejection may have led him to a life of exile.
The film features gorgeous visuals from DP Christopher Doyle, stylized swordplay and wire action from Sammo Hung, and sophisticated and subtle direction from Wong. It also possesses a killer line-up of Hong Kong heavy hitters from the 1990s delivering excellent, understated performances. This includes Brigitte Lin, Jacky Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Tony Leung Ka-fai, and Maggie Cheung.
Both the DVD and Blu-ray editions of ASHES OF TIME REDUX come with two bonus features, “Born from the Ashes: The Making of ASHES OF TIME REDUX” and a “Q&A with Wong Kar-wai.” The film is presented with its original Cantonese soundtrack and optional English subtitles. Running time is listed at 94 minutes.
In this excerpt from a Q&A session included on the DVD release, director Wong Kar-wai explains why ASHES OF TIME was controversial for its time and argues that martial arts movies should be about more than just fighting.
Brigitte Lin portrays a swordswoman with split personalities, evenly divided between opposing yin and yang or female and male forces. The concept of yin and yang, or the balance of opposing forces in nature, is a common philosophy embraced in Chinese martial arts and wuxia storytelling. This sequence also shows off the incredibly bold visual style that Wong brings to what could have been an otherwise simple training exercise.
Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) attempts to navigate the fractured mind of Murong (Brigitte Lin), unaware of her alter ego. Lin’s presence here is palpable. The scene highlights the phenomenal skills of cinematographer Christopher Doyle to turn a verbal exchange into a visual work of art.
Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) shares a quiet moment with a nameless swordsman (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) who is gradually going blind yet still must fight.
In this excerpt from a “Making Of” featurette on the DVD, world renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma discusses his involvement in performing solos for the new score. Also shown is director Wong Kar-wai and the film’s original composer Frankie Chan.
Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) has his first encounter with Murong (Brigitte Lin) who while posing as her own brother is soliciting his services to kill swordsman Huang Yaoshi (Tony Leung Ka-fai).
Brigitte Lin • DVD • Jacky Cheung • Leslie Cheung • Maggie Cheung • Sammo Hung • Sony Pictures • Tony Leung Chiu-wai • Tony Leung Ka-fai • Wong Kar-wai