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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Happy Together" or "Cheun gwong tsa sit" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/wong.htm
Hong Kong 1997

For Happy Together (1997), Wong reduced his essential cast of characters to three and flew them halfway around the world, from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires (adding a couple of side trips to Iguacu Falls and Tierra del Fuego). The subject, moreover, is probably his boldest to date: an acrimonious and ultimately doomed gay relationship between two Hong Kong expatriates, a match that never quite becomes a triangle with a straight expatriate from Taipei. But far from concentrating or distilling his material, Wong winds up scattering it to the winds.

There are plenty of interesting aspects to this epileptic fresco. There's the passionate treatment of gay sex and romance by a straight director, featuring two of the hottest stars of Hong Kong cinema (Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung, both of whom have worked with Wong before). There's the charged and ambiguous friendship between Lai (Leung) and Chang (Chang Chen, the 14-year-old hero of Edward Yang's 1991 film A Brighter Summer Day, who's since become a big pop star in Taiwan). There's an oblique but pungent response to the end of colonial rule in Hong Kong, a sense that the characters aren't sure where or who they are as they approach the uncertainty of millennial crossover with fretful wanderlust. (A key phrase recurring in the narration and dialogue is, "We could start over.") There's also a sidelong glance at the way a particular subculture (Chinese) can reduce a dominant local culture (Buenos Aires) to a few pop staples: tangos and milongas by Astor Piazzolla, tunes by Frank Zappa, cigarettes, two sleazy bars, one lurid lava lamp. Ironically, what prevents Happy Together from becoming anything more than the sum of these parts is the same thing that keeps it alive: Wong Kar-wai's cult status.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 29, 1997

Reviews        More Reviews        DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Kino (Remastered Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye (NEW) - Region 2- PAL vs.  Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye (OLD) - Region 2 - PAL  vs.  Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Donald Brown for all but the new Artificial Eye (Thanks Fabi!) the Screen Caps and Gregory Meshman for the Kino Remastered DVD caps!

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

    

Box Covers

 

 

 

also available in the Wong Kar-Wai Double Feature: Fallen Angels + Happy Together:

1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Distribution

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

Mei Ah

Region 1 - NTSC

Kino

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye (NEW)
Region 2 - PAL
Kino
Region 0 - NTSC
Artificial Eye (OLD)
Region 2 - PAL

Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:35:51 1:38:08 1:38:30 1:31:58 (4% PAL speedup 1:36:54 1:32:54 (4% PAL speedup) 1:35:56.792
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.48 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.73:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: ? 6.62 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
 

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.54 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 43,315,151,580 bytes

Feature Size: 25,573,797,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.84 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Kino Remastered

Bitrate:

 

Mei Ah

 

Bitrate:

 

Kino

 

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye (new)

 

Bitrate:

Kino (Special Edition)

 

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye (old)

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio Cantonese (Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround) Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0, Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1

Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0

Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0

DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 3831 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3831 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, None English + Chinese (burned in) English (burned in) English, none English, none English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Kino

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
 Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together (59:09)
 Wong Kar-Wai at the Museum of the Moving Image (44:19)
 Stills Gallery (23 pictures)
 Original and Japanese trailers for Happy Together
 Original and Japanese trailers for Fallen Angels

DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio:
Mei Ah LaserDisc co.

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.73:1

Edition Details:

None

DVD Release Date:  November 11th, 1997
Blue keep case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.77:1

Edition Details:

None

DVD Release Date: Aug. 13, 1999
Snapcase

Chapters 13
 

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together
• Trailer

• Cast And Crew Filmographies
 

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2009
Keepcase

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together
• Trailers
• Filmographies
• Stills gallery

 

DVD Release Date: Oct. 19, 2004
Keepcase

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together
• Trailer
• Filmographies

 

DVD Release Date: Nov. 24, 2003
Keepcase

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

 

Disc Size: 43,315,151,580 bytes

Feature Size: 25,573,797,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.84 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080P

 

Edition Details:
 Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together (59:09)
 Wong Kar-Wai at the Museum of the Moving Image (44:19)
 Stills Gallery (23 pictures)
 Original and Japanese trailers for Happy Together
 Original and Japanese trailers for Fallen Angels

Blu-ray Release Date:
June 8th, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray Case inside cardboard box

Chapters 24

 

Comments NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION - Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray June 2010: Great news - Kino finally got this right! It seems as good as their Fallen Angels Blu-ray. Happy Together is dual-layered with a strong bitrate and the image has moments of crystal clarity. It appears to be the same source as the 'remastered' DVD but it is resolved in 1080P. It looks beautiful. I see no digital manipulation - it advances over the company's usual standard conversions problem - the DVD had interlacing issues and the Artificial Eye had PAL speedup. It seems to be the darkest of all the releases and the black levels are pitch - colors appear true and it significantly advances over all the DVD treatments.

My, my how things have changed - I believe my first viewing of this film was via the Mei Ah disc. Back then I had no idea it could rise to such an amazing level.

Audio sports a new lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 in Cantonese at 3831 kbps 5.1. Comparatively this is quite easy to identify the improvement. It has some wonderfully crisp moments. There are optional English subtitles.

Extras are duplicated from the 'Remastered' DVD but are in HD! - not that this is a big consideration as it can, simply, look SD-bumped.

Anyway, strong A/V here and Happy Together has never looked, or sounded, so pristine for your home theater. This is an easy recommendation Kino continue to impress with their new format releases.

Gary Tooze

****

 

ADDITION: Kino - Remastered February 2010': Kino's remastered edition from 2009 is the company's third kick at the can on this title and it looks as sharp and clear as the Artificial Eye transfer - although an appalling low bitrate - and appears to in NTSC running time (correct standards conversion) although is 2.5 minutes shorter than their own 199 DVD release (?). It is also interlaced.

It also has strong extras including the hour-long 'Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together' documentary as well as 45-minutes of 'Wong Kar-Wai at the Museum of the Moving Image'. Dependant on whether this is censored this may be the definitive SD-DVD release but I expect this will come to Blu-ray within the next year or so. Stay tuned.

***

ADDITION: Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL February 2009': Looks like a whole new ballgame with this 2009 Artificial Eye release. We've put the caps right in between the 2 Kino editions and as you can see - it's no contest at all. As contributor Fabi reminds me - "...please don't forget that this release isn't cropped, has a new title and the end credits are also white on black now, and one shot that was accidentally rendered to black on white on former remastered discs is back in color again. And it's got a 5.1 soundtrack."

Extras appear to mimic the first AE release - but who cares - this is the one to own. (Thanks Fabi!)

***

 

ON THE FIRST FOUR DVDs:

The Mei Ah disc can be excluded from these comments as it is easily the worst edition with the most contrast boosting and ingrained dual subtitles. It doesn't even have menus.

Gary Tooze

***

First of all, the Artificial Eye DVD is garbage, so let's just move on and discuss the two Kino editions.

The first Kino edition:

    Pros
     
  • Excellent color
  • No apparent cropping
    Cons
     
  • Non-anamorphic
  • Slightly soft, video feel (some color shimmer in B&W footage)
  • Burned-in subs
  • Blown-out highlights
  • No extras

The second Kino edition:
 
    Pros
     
  • Anamorphic

  • Decent color, though a bit too cyan

  • Extras

    Cons

  • Cropped image, especially on bottom and right

  • A 14-second color segment immediately after the opening credits has been rendered in black & white (see first set of captures), and the first few frames of it are missing

  • Lack of detail in dark scenes

  • A little soft

On the whole, the Kino Special Edition is an improvement over the first release, but probably not enough so to justify double-dipping, unless you have a widescreen display or want the making-of documentary (which is good). It's a shame about the cropping, and it's a mystery why the short color scene has been turned to B&W. I suspect all the B&W scenes were stripped of color to give them a neutral cast, and this small segment, which immediately precedes a lengthy B&W section, was grabbed and changed by accident.

 - Donald Brown

 


Recommended Reading in Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"



DVD Menus

 

Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC

 

 

New Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL



(Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

NOTE: Mei Ah DVD has NO menus!
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Subtitle sample

1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

CAN'T OBTAIN SUBTITLE CAPTURE FOR NEW ARTIFICIAL EYE

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Kino (Remastered) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL FOURTH

5) Kino (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - FIFTH

6) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Sound:

Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Extras:

Kino (remastered)  / Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

    

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

also available in the Wong Kar-Wai Double Feature: Fallen Angels + Happy Together:

 




 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...