December 11, 2020
The Criterion Collection March 23, 2021, will release the boxed set World of Wong Kar Wai, a seven-disc Blu-ray Disc collection containing new 4K digital restorations of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and 2046, approved by Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, and new 4K digital restorations of As Tears Go By and Days of Being Wild, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks.
The set comes in deluxe packaging, including a French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note and six collectible art prints.
Wong’s debut feature, 1988’s As Tears Go By, is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles. The crime thriller, set amid Hong Kong’s gangland underworld stars Andy Lau Tak Wah as a small-time mob enforcer who finds himself torn between a burgeoning romance with his ailing cousin (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) and his loyalty to his loose-cannon partner in crime (Jacky Cheung Hok Yau), whose reckless attempts to make a name for himself unleash a spiral of violence.
In 1990’s Days of Being Wild, the initial entry in a loosely connected, ongoing cycle that includes In the Mood for Love and 2046, a disaffected playboy (Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing) searching for his birth mother, a lovelorn woman (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) hopelessly enamored with him, and a policeman (Andy Lau Tak Wah) caught in the middle of their turbulent relationship pull together and push apart in a dance of frustrated desire set in the Hong Kong of the 1960s. the film is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles.
In 1994’s Chungking Express, presented In Cantonese with English subtitles, two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung Chiu Wai), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out food stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works.
In 1995’s Fallen Angels, in Cantonese with English subtitles, lost souls reach out for human connection amid a glimmering Hong Kong in a film that charts the subtly interlacing fates of a handful of urban loners, including a coolly detached hit man (Leon Lai Ming) looking to go straight; his business partner (Michelle Reis), who secretly yearns for him; and a mute delinquent (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who wreaks mischief by night.
Happy Together, from 1997, stars Hong Kong superstars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing as a couple traveling through Argentina and locked in a turbulent cycle of infatuation and destructive jealousy as they break up, make up, and fall apart again and again. The film is presented in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Spanish with English subtitles.
In 2000’s In the Mood for Love, set in Hong Kong in 1962, Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite — until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. It is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles.
The loose sequel to In the Mood for Love, 2046, features Tony Leung Chiu Wai reprising his role as writer Chow Mo-Wan, whose numerous failed relationships with women who drift in and out of his life (and the one who goes in and out of room 2046, down the hall from his apartment) inspire the delirious futuristic love story he pens. The 2004 film is presented in Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese with English subtitles.
The boxed set also includes:
- A new program in which Wong answers questions submitted, at the invitation of the director, by authors André Aciman and Jonathan Lethem; filmmakers Sofia Coppola, Rian Johnson, Lisa Joy, and Chloé Zhao; cinematographers Philippe Le Sourd and Bradford Young; and filmmakers and founders/creative directors of Rodarte Kate and Laura Mulleavy;
- Alternate version of Days of Being Wild featuring different edits of the film’s prologue and final scenes, on home video for the first time;
- Hua yang de nian hua, a 2000 short film by Wong;
- Extended version of The Hand, a 2004 short film by Wong, available in the U.S. for the first time;
- Interview and “cinema lesson” with Wong from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival;
- Three making-of documentaries, featuring interviews with Wong; actors Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen, Faye Wong, and Ziyi Zhang; and others;
- Episode of the television series “Moving Pictures” from 1996 featuring Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle;
- Interviews from 2002 and 2005 with Doyle;
- Excerpts from a 1994 British Film Institute audio interview with Cheung on her work in Days of Being Wild;
- Program from 2012 on In the Mood for Love’s soundtrack;
- Press conference for In the Mood for Love from the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival;
- Deleted scenes, alternate endings, behind-the-scenes footage, a promo reel, music videos, and trailers.