Ashes of Time Redux
Dir. Wong Kar-wai. 2008, 100 mins. 35mm. With Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Carina Lau, Charlie Yeung, Jacky Cheung, Maggie Cheung. Prompted by a necessary undertaking to preserve the original 1994 film’s surviving elements, Ashes of Time Redux is not merely a restoration but a stunning reorchestration of Wong’s sweeping wuxia epic, creating an even more intensified expression of the director’s singular sense of cinematic construction. Wong’s second feature shot on location near Mongolia in Mainland China, chronicles the encounters and interlocking love triangles between a group of wandering swordsmen, bounty hunters, and other shadowy characters against the entropic spiral of a staggering desertscape. Both expansive and intimate, and featuring a veritable galaxy of Hong Kong superstars and stylized fight sequences, Ashes remains one of the greatest and most unique achievements in the wuxia genre. As the director himself has said, “[It’s] more than a standard martial arts film; it’s Shakespeare meets Sergio Leone in Chinese.”
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