Ashes of Time Redux
A labour of love from Wong Kar Wai (Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, 2046) who was never satisfied with his 1992 version of Ashes of Time. His consistent themes (loneliness, disconnection, obsession with the past) and characters (proud, haunted, imperially alone) are unchanged, but this remastered print enhances cinematographer Christopher Doyle's adoring close-ups and impressive desertscapes with luxurious colour restoration. The desert dweller Ouyang (Leslie Cheung) is a broker and hostel-provider for itinerant swordsmen and their prospective clients, trying not to suffer the pangs of losing the woman (Maggie Cheung) who married his brother. There’s a powerful poetry running through it all, as Wong eschews the banalities of mainstream narrative for visual abstraction, beauty and the mysteries of time.
“Visually beautiful and the performances have a purity to match.”