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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "As Tears Go By" or Wong gok ka moon" or "Carmen of the Streets" or "Mongkok Carmen" or "Rexie Naner" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/wong.htm
Hong Kong 1988

Wong Kar Wai’s scintillating debut feature is a kinetic, hypercool crime thriller graced with flashes of the impressionistic, daydream visual style for which he would become renowned. Set amid Hong Kong’s ruthless, neon-lit gangland underworld, this operatic saga of ambition, honor, and revenge 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, in the first of her iconic collaborations with the director) 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. Marrying the pulp pleasures of the gritty Hong Kong action drama with hints of the head-rush romanticism Wong would push to intoxicating heights throughout the 1990s, As Tears Go By was a box-office smash that heralded the arrival of one of contemporary cinema’s most electrifying talents.

***

Though as gritty as any 80’s Hong Kong gangster picture, AS TEARS GO BY is a watershed film heralding one of the most auspicious directorial debuts in international cinema. Wong Kar-Wai’s visually stunning, tough and romantic 1988 first feature deftly smuggles the director’s now celebrated genius into an incendiary "Heroic Bloodshed" street opera of the John Woo mold.

Already stretched to breaking in a loyalty tug of war between Triad bosses and his loose cannon partner, Wah (Andy Lau - FULLTIME KILLER, DAYS OF BEING WILD), a rising star in the HK underworld, finds himself saddled with beautiful, ailing country cousin Ngor. As an escalating test of wills with a stubborn debtor explodes into bloodshed and a mob turncoat instigates a ruthless police crackdown, Wah’s growing fascination with Ngor becomes his last chance for escape from a violent past and a dubious future.

Cast in comic eye candy roles prior to AS TEARS GO BY, Maggie Cheung (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) cites Ngor, her first of many collaborations with Wong Kar-Wai, as the character that truly began her dramatic career. Under Wong Kar-Wai’s direction, Jacky Cheung (DAYS OF BEING WILD) earned the 1988 Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Wah’s guilt-ridden, out of control partner Fly. Balancing epiphanous imagery with experimentation and realism with brazen romanticism, Wong Kar-Wai’s AS TEARS GO BY offers a tantalizing glimpse into the nascent brilliance of one of the most influential filmmaking talents of the last twenty years

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 9th, 1989 - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews                                                                                    More Reviews                                                                       DVD Reviews

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

 

Check out more in "The Library"


Comparison:

Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Kino - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL vs. Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion (2021 - 'World of Wong Kar Wai') - Region 'A' Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow and for the DVD Screen Caps!

DVD Box Covers

     

 

Distribution

Tartan

Region 2 - PAL

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

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:

 

BONUS Captures:

Tartan
Region 2- PAL
Mega-Star
Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion (2021)

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Distribution

Tartan

Region 2 - PAL

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

Tartan
Region 2- PAL
Mega-Star
Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion (2021)

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:35:08 (4% PAL speedup) 1:39:21 1:35:04 (4% PAL speedup) 1:38:30 1:39:30.214
Video

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.46 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.93 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.0 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,447,322,441 bytes

Feature: 29,954,359,296 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps / 22.19 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Tartan (WKW Collection)

Bitrate:

Kino

 

Bitrate:

Tartan

 

Bitrate:

Mega-Star

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Cantonese Cantonese (2.0 Dolby Digital)

Mandarin (2.0 Dolby Digital)

Cantonese (5.1 Dolby Digital)

LPCM Audio Cantonese 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None English, None English, Japanese, Korean, Bahasa Malaysian, Bahasa Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Richard Jobson
• In The Mood For Love Trailer
• 2046 Trailer

DVD Release Date: November 13, 2006
Box

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers for 4 Wong Kar-wai films
• Stills gallery (8 in click through)
• Filmographies of cast

DVD Release Date: October 19th, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78

Edition Details:
• Trailers
• Booklet

 

DVD Release Date: January 24th, 2005
Keep case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Mega-Star

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer
• More Attractions

 

DVD Release Date:
Keep Case

Chapters 9

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,447,322,441 bytes

Feature: 29,954,359,296 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps / 22.19 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Alternate Endings ("Happy" Ending - 2:12 / Extended Ending - 2:31)
Trailer (3:30)
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 obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Criterion (2021) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (January 2021): "As Tears Go By" is the director's feature debut and part of Criterion's upcoming World of Wong Kar Wai Blu-ray set. This has a "New 4K digital restoration".

Like In the Mood For Love, this new 4K restoration on Blu-ray shows a heavy green cast over the visuals - more notable in the beginning of the film though. The overall image is darker and significantly sharper without the compression artifacts of the SD transfers. Most colors are bolder and this is a significant upgrade. It finally looks like 'film' as opposed to weak video.  The Blu-ray rendering is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate.

NOTE: We have added 28 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

The audio for the feature is via an uncompressed linear PCM mono track in the original Cantonese. The score is by Danny Chung (as Ting Yat Chung) (Happy Together) and Teddy Robin Kwan (Shanghai Shanghai). There is some brutal violence in As Tears Go By - but the uncompressed track exports an authentically flat impression without modest depth. Criterion add optional English subtitles (see samples below) on their Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Criterion don't include many supplements.  There are alternate endings ("Happy" Ending" - 2:12 / "Extended Ending" - 2:31) taken from previous home-video releases. The two endings for As Tears Go By presented here differ from the original in tone, editing, and duration. There is also a trailer plus the World of Wong Kar Wai Blu-ray set has 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.

Wong Kar Wai's As Tears Go By doesn't export the level of emotional complexity that we would see with his later films. It has elements of a more typical, and commercial 80s Asian action gangster flic. There is plenty of uncomfortable violence but there are also hints of his artistry though characterizations and dialogue - elevating the film from the more standard of its genre. Another very important and worthy addition to the World of Wong Kar Wai Blu-ray set. I really enjoyed finally seeing this in a superior presentation. It made a big difference to my viewing experience.

Gary Tooze

***

ADDITION - Tartan (WKW Collection) -  Tartan made promise of their word and have now re-released both "Days of Being Wild" and "As Tears Go By" in correct Cantonese language, part of their WKW box, also including "2046".

As the previous edition, this also is the uncut version of the film. The image is minutely better defined in Tartans new transfer, but not visible when viewing.

Added to the DVD is an audio commentary by director Richard Jobson ("Sixteen years of Alcohol"). It is much the commentary of a fan, of a fellow film maker, who not only is influenced by WKW, but also uses music in a similar way in his own films.

 - Henrik Sylow

ADDITION - Tartan - Jan- 05

The Tartan is significantly different in all aspects.

It is a DVD5 edition. The film itself only takes up 3.5 GB.

The source is lacking the blue-ish sterile look of the Asian, and other, version(s). The source is on the other side less grainy. Details are virtually the same.

It is also a different scan. The frame has 2% to 2.5% less frame information left (depending on frame), and 2% to 2.5% more frame information right (depending on frame). And in one scene (frame #7), the scan is approx 11% different vertically, preferring cropped feet rather than cropped head.

The image itself is quiet decent, with a minimum of compression artifacts, as minor halos and some colour banding.

Where all other DVD releases of this film is in Cantonese, Tartan comes with a 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono Mandarin track. As this is a Hong Kong production, the language should be Cantonese. According to Tartan, they did request the Cantonese version, but recieved Mandarin.

But the real critical issue here is, that apart from the booklet, this is a DVD5 bare-boned release, and to ask 19,99 is really pushing the envelope to cash in on Wong and the January UK premiere of "2046".

BBFC originally cut the film by a few seconds. This version is uncut, showing Fly being hit in the chest by the metal gas container (57:16).


Henrik Sylow

Well it looks like a port. Perhaps Mega-Star sold their master to Kino. The image is too close to call, both show some film grain and have non-progressive frame ghosting between scenes (not encoded each frame separately) . The Kino looks very minutely sharper and similarly superior contrast - but I am looking very closely. There are a few other differences - The Kino subtitles, though more grammatically accurate, are a little sparse in comparison. My Cantonese wife says it is pretty negligible. Personally I like the Kino subs for clarity. The Kino does have better extras, but hardly worth even mentioning. Kino have some wonderful animated menus. If you require there are bountiful subtitles selections on the Mega Star. I'm a little confused by my DVD software which says the Kino has 2 audio channels and 8 audio streams. I know the Mega Star has 5.1 (bumped). Anyway, bottom line is I wouldn't recommend trading up for the Boxset based on this... Maybe for Days of Being Wild (Mega Star's is so green!) Lets see what the rest of the set is like. I am pretty pleased so far. I wasn't expecting the moon, but any improvement over the strong Mega-Star editions would be a surprise.
 

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL

 

 


(Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Tartan - Region 2- PAL - MIDDLE vs. Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

   

 

Criterion- Region 'A' Blu-ray

 


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

 

1) (Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Tartan - Region 2- PAL - THIRD

4) Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

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

 

Subtitle sample (English only) - captures resized to 800px width from 1016px original

 


1) (Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Tartan - Region 2- PAL - THIRD

4) Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

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

 

 


1) (Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Tartan - Region 2- PAL - THIRD

4) Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

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

 

 


1) (Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Tartan - Region 2- PAL - THIRD

4) Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

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

 


1) (Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Tartan - Region 2- PAL - THIRD

4) Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

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

 

 


1) (Tartan (The Wong Kar-Wai Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Tartan - Region 2- PAL - THIRD

4) Mega-Star - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

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

 


More full resolution (1920 X 1080) 2021 Criterion Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE


Hit Counter


DVD Box Covers

     

 

Distribution

Tartan

Region 2 - PAL

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

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:

 

BONUS Captures:

Tartan
Region 2- PAL
Mega-Star
Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion (2021)

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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