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Criterion Gets Doyles Stamp Of Approval

The Criterion blog now has a post about the upcoming

Chungking Express

release. There’s still no mention of which cut it will be, but there’s a nice story of how the Criterion team managed against all odds to get cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s approval of the transfer.

There are those who regard Doyle as an overrated DP, and I wouldn’t say I agree, but I do find the quality of his work to be inconsistent, and sometimes unremarkable. Doyle did, after all, admit that he stumbled into the art of cinematography (drunkenly, I think) and never ventured into it as a conscious ambition. But if he meant that little origin story, which has been repeated often enough now, to be a humble reaction to all the praise heaped upon him, I think it’s more of the opposite effect. It would make any educated cinematographer who spent years studying the craft meticulously before venturing into it, frustrated by the fact that someone like Doyle could so easily grope around in the dark to become one of the most renowned talents in the art. It’s almost like

Happy Gilmore

stumbling into the art of golf.

Lastly, what I can gather now is that the original Hong Kong theatrical cut was much shorter, and the scenes involving the Bangladeshis and Brigitte Lin were much less. And that the one scene in which Tony Leung’s Cop 663 drinks coffee is accompanied by Faye Wong’s version of


In the western DVD releases, that scene has no music.


for more information.