Ashes of Time Redux | Chicago Reader

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Wong Kar Wai's Ashes of Time (1994) was an abstract martial-arts adventure about a mercenary assassin (Leslie Cheung) and his rival (Tony Leung Ka Fai), inspired by the two main characters in Louis Cha's novel The Eagle Shooting Heroes. For this director's cut, Wong has trimmed several minutes and reorganized the narrative according to the passage of seasons, though the plot is still impenetrable. The original synth score has been replaced by an orchestration with cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma, and Christopher Doyle's cinematography has been remastered, losing some of its graininess. As in the original version, the fights are outweighed by existential angst and Buddhist introspection, but the sequence in which a blind swordsman (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) takes on an army of thieves is still gangbusters. In Cantonese and Mandarin with subtitles. R, 93 min.

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