Ashes of Time Redux

The filming of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s 1994 Ashes of Time, an expensive, star-studded wuxia (martial-arts swordplay) saga loosely based on a Louis Cha novel, dragged on for more than a year — so long, in fact, that the director shot Chungking Express during an editing break. On release, Ashes received mixed reviews and was one of the director’s few commercial failures. The director was never fully satisfied with Ashes, but some critics have considered it an under-appreciated film. More than a decade later he decided to dust it off, and give it a sleek re-edit, new music and a U.S. theatrical premiere. The new version is only slightly shorter, but features new color tinting, digital effects and altered music cues. If you accept that the plot is elusive, you can appreciate the film for its considerable aesthetic virtues. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 8:50 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6. Find a longer version of this review online at clevescene.com. HHH
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