May 27, 2004

What'd He Say?

daysofbeing2.jpgThough Cinecultist did find our lack of Asian languages a hinderance at the Zhang Yimou event frusterating, but this isn't the first time in our week of movie watching that we've hit this wall. Last Sunday CC headed to Brooklyn for a screening of Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild at BAM Cinematheque, and while we always enjoy an evening gazing at the lovelies Maggie Cheung, Leslie Cheung, Andy Lau and in a brief but sigh inducing cameo, Tony Leung, the print shown left something to be desired to say the least.

See a good print and all you see is the movie; watch a bad print and all Cinecultist can notice is the scratches, the fading, the poor splices, the popping soundtrack and the faded subtitles. It brings out the geeky former archivist/projectionist in CC to discuss it but, this print blew. Most intrinsically, it seemed to be missing some essential subtitles, in particular a final voice-over performed by Leslie Cheung's character as we watch the lush Singapore trees glid by. The mostly white hipster kids around CC found this grumble inducing, and it did seem that the movie lacked some closure because of this omission. It appeared also that the film hadn't been well stored because the ends of each reel had excessive scratching, and there were visible jumps in the image which usually signals that the archivist had to trim off particularly damaged frames. All of this sad decay on a print from a film made only in 1991? It's enough to turn CC into some kind of crusading Martin Scorsese-Save-the-Orphans-of-the-Storm sort of person! How obnoxious would that be?

Posted by karen at May 27, 2004 8:36 AM