For fans of East Asian genre flicks and obscure indie North American releases, Well Go USA entertainment might be already a familiar name by now. Their boutique label contains a vast variety of genres; including horror, drama, thriller, and martial arts mayhem. Without the generous support of Well Go USA, plenty of magnificent international oddities would be lost in translation in a sea of empty distribution deals. You see, unlike some other smaller scale film distribution companies, Well Go USA is one of the few remaining distributors who actually cares about their films having a proper theatrical window and as well a respectful physical home media release.
In a day and age of constant streaming platforms and the extinction of Blu-ray and DVD’s, it’s comforting to know that there’s still a company consistently releasing valuable pieces of genre cinema at an affordable price. My two personal favorite releases from Well Go USA are the 4K HDR release of Zhang Yimou’s vibrant masterwork Shadow and the special Blu-ray + DVD edition of Lee Chang-dong’s star studded Burning. Both releases contain beautiful HD transfers from the original DCP, and contain the perfect amount of bonus material, without overwhelming the viewer with a plethora of unneeded features.
The companies two latest releases live up to the company’s prestigious title. Their exclusive release of Takashi Miike’s First Love is a particular highlight in their jam packed catalog. First Love was both one of the best and most under-seen films of 2019 and even the 2010’s. A darkly comedic and brutal dissection of gang violence, First Love is more so of a departure of the Yakuza genre; a farewell per say for Miike and his elongated relationship with this niche sub-genre. Well Go’s release of the film also lives up to the vapid rollercoaster that is Miike’s bodacious vision, with its slick packaging and gorgeous sound and picture quality.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Chinese animated flick Nezha, a vibrantly colorful romp based in richly satisfying folklore. Combining the perfect dosage of humor and tension, the film is an over the top thrill ride for all ages. As one of the most successful Chinese films ever to hit the global market, Nezha is most accessible in it’s more melancholic and personal moments; the scenes which tug on the heartstrings and offer a significant amount of depth into the world and internal psychology of these fragile, susceptible characters. By no means is it a masterpiece, though the talented team of animators and visual storytellers behind the project is what makes the film so special to begin with.
With each coming release, I appreciate the hard working team behind Well Go USA even more. Whether it’s re-releasing classic 90’s genre flicks on DVD, or distributing festival favorites onto the silver screen in select cinemas, the talented team behind this relatively small distribution house welcomes plenty of creative voices into what is an extremely crowded market. Without their hard determined work, representation of East Asian cinema would certainly lack. Without them, we North American viewers would simply miss out on great cinema, past the one inch tall barrier of subtitles. Some audiences are ready to be introduced to so many more amazing films. It’s just that we need to continue supporting companies such as Well Go USA to further advance the development and prosperity of international cinema in a restricted euro-centric environment.
To pay it forward, in participation with TARO PR and Well Go USA, On The Clock is giving away a copy of Nezha and First Love on DVD! To enter this contest, follow the instructions below. The contest officially closes on March 13th. The winner(s) will be announced on our Twitter Page on March 14th! This contest is only available for CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY. Good Luck to All!
DEADLINE EXTENDED: CLOSES MARCH 20TH, WINNERS ANNOUNCED MARCH 21ST
1. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
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3. FILL OUT AND SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING GOOGLE FORM