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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 vs. Criterion (2021 - 'World of Wong Kar Wai') - Region 'A' 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

 

 

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Box Covers

 

 

 

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

Only sold presently as part of Criterion's Blu-ray package of World of Wong Kar Wai with As Tears Go By / Days of Being Wild / Chungking Express / Fallen Angels / Happy Together / In the Mood for Love / and 2046:

 

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

Criterion (2021)

Region 'A'  - 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 1:36:23.819
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

Disc Size: 47,437,483,477 bytes

Feature Size: 30,065,522,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.86 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 (SE)

 

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye (old)

 

Bitrate Kino:

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate Criterion:

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) DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 3668 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3668 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, None English + Chinese (burned in) English (burned in) English, none 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

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

Disc Size: 47,437,483,477 bytes

Feature Size: 30,065,522,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.86 Mbps

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

Edition Details:

Buenos Aires Zero Degree (1:01:56)
Trailer (1:32)
PLUS: Deluxe packaging, including a perfect-bound, French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note, and six collectible art prints

Blu-ray
Release Date: March 23rd, 2021
Custom Blu-ray Case (see below)
Chapters: 17

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

ADDITION: Criterion (2021) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (January 2021): "Happy Together" is another integral part of Criterion's upcoming World of Wong Kar Wai Blu-ray set. This has a "New 4K digital restoration approved by director Wong Kar Wai".

Wong Kar Wai on his New Restorations: "During the process of restoring the pictures that you are about to watch, we were caught in a dilemma between restoring these films to the form in which the audience had remembered them and how I had originally envisioned them. There was so much that we could change, and I decided to take the second path as it would represent my most vivid vision of these films.

As the saying goes: “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Since the beginning of this process, these words have reminded me to treat this as an opportunity to present these restorations as a new work from a different vantage point in my career.

Having arrived at the end of this process, these words still hold true.

I invite the audience to join me on starting afresh, as these are not the same films, and we are no longer the same audience.
"

For Happy Together WKW states: "During a fire accident in 2019, we lost some of the original negative of Happy Together. In the ensuing months, we tried to restore the negative as much as we could, but a portion of it had been permanently damaged. We lost not only some of the picture, but also the sound in those reels.

As a result, I had to shorten some of Tony’s monologues, but with the amazing work of L’Immagine Ritrovata, we managed to restore most of the scenes to better quality.
"

This new 4K restored, director-approved image is less harsh than Kino's 2010 Blu-ray, and it has a higher, max'ed out bitrate. The Criterion looks far better - tighter lines without the blown-out colors of the Kino BD transfer. Like others in this set - it may be marginally cropped but he overall image is the most pleasing of all compared here.  

The audio is still lossless 5.1 surround but more robust than Kino's 2010 Blu-ray edition being 24-bit. It is in the original Cantonese and there is not a ton of separation required by the film. The score is by Danny Chung (As Tears Go By) with the theme of 'Happy Together' plus you can find some Frank Zappa in the film's music as well as some performances of Cucurrucucu Paloma a Mexican huapango-style song plus Tango Apasionado and 3 Amigos. Criterion add optional English subtitles (see samples below) on their Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Like the Kino Blu-ray, Criterion also include as an extra the 1999 Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together which is an hour long making of documentary for Happy Together that includes interviews, on-set footage, cut scenes and footage of crew members revisiting the locations where Happy Together was filmed. NOTE: The Criterion extra runs almost 3-minutes longer making me suspect the Kino supplement was in PAL. The Criterion also has a 'new' trailer and the World of Wong Kar Wai has deluxe packaging (see below), including a perfect-bound, French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note, and six collectible art prints.

Well, the Criterion image is easily the best and it has other extras within the World of Wong Kar Wai Blu-ray set if you think the lone supplement is minimal. Wong Kar Wai was constantly altering Happy Together opting for an extended shoot and significant changes form the original script. It has themes of loneliness, isolation and dislocation while exporting raw sadness and overwhelming emotion. It simply is another masterpiece for the director and a valuable part of this World of Wong Kar Wai Blu-ray set.   

Gary Tooze

***

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

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - 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 - SEVENTH

8) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

CAN'T OBTAIN SUBTITLE CAPTURE FOR NEW ARTIFICIAL EYE

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 - SEVENTH

8) Criterion - Region 'A' - 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 - SEVENTH

8) Criterion - Region 'A' - 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 - SEVENTH

8) Criterion - Region 'A' - 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 - SEVENTH

8) Criterion - Region 'A' - 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 - SEVENTH

8) Criterion - Region 'A' - 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 - SEVENTH

8) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


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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:

Only sold presently as part of Criterion's Blu-ray package of World of Wong Kar Wai with As Tears Go By / Days of Being Wild / Chungking Express / Fallen Angels / Happy Together / In the Mood for Love / and 2046:

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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