The word “redux” is Latin meaning “brought back”. In cinema this has come to mean a reworking of a previously released film, as in the case of Francis Ford Coppola’s 2001 “Apocalypse Now Redux”. By creating a “redux” of a film, the director is in essence overwriting the original version, the new cut becoming the definitive cut. It is moreover a second chance to get it right, regardless of whether or not your audience agrees.
This is, of course, different than a “Director’s Cut” which is the way that a film would have been made if the director had been granted final cut privileges. Seems simple enough until you consider that Ridley Scott released the Director’s Cut of Blade Runner ten years after the original release and then, in 2006 released Blade Runner: The Final Cut (to be fair, the 1992 Director’s Cut of the film was completed in a rush and without Scott’s full attention and therefore didn’t technically fit the criteria. There are, in fact, 7 different versions of Blade Runner in existence).
A redux is apparently also different from what George Lucas did in 2004 to the original 3 Star Wars movies. That treatment, which more or less brought the CGI effects up to par with their more recent prequels, was simply termed a “re-release” even though Lucasfilm would go on to state that the the 2004 Special Edition was now the “canonical” version of the original trilogy.
And so, with all that said, this October, Wong Kar Wai will be releasing “Ashes in Time Redux”, his “re-envisioning” of his critically acclaimed 1994 martial arts epic. So why has Kar Wai decided that his film needed to be “brought back”? From what I’ve read in the fan forums there are hardly any deleted scenes added to this new cut. Indeed, the run time is actually shorter now. The most noticeable difference is the reordering of certain scenes which makes the story tighter, more coherent. As Lee Marshall from Screen Daily states:
The first surprise about Wong Kar-wai’s revamped, re-edited and rescored version of his 1994 cult wuxia classic Ashes Of Time is just how little has been changed. The second is how much these minor tweaks still have helped clarify the Hong Kong auteur’s interpretation of Louis Cha’s historical fantasy novel The Eagle-Shooting Hero, confirming that his most poetic, experimental film belongs not in the curiosity cabinet but on the big screen.
From the looks of the trailer, the film looks to be nothing short of spectacular and in line with the other epic battle styled movies that seem to pervade today’s mainstream cinema. So perhaps “bringing back” a film has as much to do with timing as it does with how you cut it.