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Part of World of Wong Kar Wai.
Wong Kar Wai’s scintillating debut feature is a kinetic, hyper-cool crime thriller graced with flashes of the impressionistic, daydream visual style for which he would become renowned. Set amidst Hong Kong’s ruthless, neon-lit gangland underworld, this operatic saga of ambition, honor and revenge stars Andy Lau as a small-time mob enforcer who finds himself torn between a burgeoning romance with his ailing cousin (Maggie Cheung, in the first of her iconic collaborations with the director) and his loyalty to his loose cannon partner in crime (Jacky Cheung) 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.
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool.
“One of his most-essential works… As a part of the larger Hong Kong scene of the ’80s, it exemplifies trends and sensibilities that would define that era. For our celebration of Wong’s work, however, it’s the first step of a filmmaker whose voice is so strong from the get-go that no genre trappings could ever silence it.” —Sam Van Der Meer, Flixist “...Announced the presence of a genuine Hong Kong new wave — as well as an ambitious cineaste.” —J. Hoberman, Village Voice “Almost 30 years after its release, AS TEARS GO BY remains a bombastic punch to the senses.” —Erica Peplin, Spectrum Culture