Kurosawa documentary DVD - any good ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Deepak Shenoy, Apr 21, 2002.

  1. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    Wellspring (formerly known as Fox Lorber) is releasing a Kurosawa documentary (which I am guessing is the same as the one that aired on PBS recently). The release date is 4/23. I was wondering if anyone has had a chance to check out the DVD. If so, how are the picture and sound quality ?

    The DVD is supposed to have 90 additional minutes of interview footage. Is this edited back into the documentary, or presented as supplemental material ? (most sites list the runtime as 215 minutes)
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    That much extra? Sweet! Even if it's not in there, I'm picking this up. This was a GREAT documentary
     
  3. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Can anybody give me a link to a website so that I can purchase this straight away
    Much obliged
    Oscar
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    It comes out on Tuesday at retailers everywhere. Just do a search of the usual online stores
     
  5. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Jeff
    Much obliged and will pick this up
    Oscar
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Craig Cunningham

    Craig Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

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    This documentary is excellent. All Kurosawa fans should consider buying it. I gained some real insights into the man and his approach to filmmaking. But I am very disappointed this disc is not enhanced for widescreens. [​IMG]
     
  7. Craig Cunningham

    Craig Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

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    The package has easter eggs listed as a special feature. Has anyone discovered them yet?
     
  8. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Hi guys
    Here in Edinburgh, Scotland they will show 12 new prints of Kurosawa during the months of may/june
    http://www.filmhousecinema.com/
    [​IMG]
    Akira Kurosawa
    The name of Akira Kurosawa immediately conjures up the image of a growling Japanese samurai warrior, sword at the ready * and most likely played by Toshiro Mifune. Not surprisingly since Kurosawa, himself descended from a samurai clan, directed some of the most famous, exciting and dynamic samurai movies ever made. His acute pictorial sense, epic vision and muscular, energetic camera technique made him the ideal action-film director. But Kurosawa was more than a maker of action movies. His samurai films, exciting though they are, always carry a strong moral subtext, and all his films are imbued with his passionate moral and humanist concerns. The bfi's release of a dozen major Kurosawa films includes, along with many of his best-loved period classics, several of the films in which he tackled the social problems * street-crime, corruption, political double-dealing * of modern-day Japan. - Philip Kemp
    Ticket Deals
    See all 12 films in the season for £36/£24 concession
    See any 6 films in the season for £24£15 concession
    Yojimbo
    Fri 10 to Mon 13 May (not Sat)
    Japan 1961 · 110 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai.
    Corruption, graft and bribery, now seen as comedy, when a masterless samurai strolls into town and gets half the baddies to obliterate the other half. Exhilarating, surprising, kinetic and always funny, the picture gives us a very human hero who, as Kurosawa said, 'is different from us. He's able to stand squarely in the middle and stop the fight.' - NFT brochure.
    Rashomon
    Fri 10 to Mon 13 May
    Japan 1950 · 88 mins Subtitles · 12
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune.
    Two Akutagawa stories, a Shinobu Hashimoto script and Kazuo Miyagawa's photography make this story of rape and murder into a multi-stranded narrative which questions not only truth but also reality itself, as four characters, all witness to the same incident, tell radically different stories of what happened, all of which could be true. Kurosawa here protests the human condition in a picture which is part murder-mystery, part metaphysical meditation, and mostly pure magic. - NFT brochure.
    Throne of Blood
    Fri 10 to Mon 13 May
    Japan 1957 · 110 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada.
    Called by many the finest of all film versions of Shakespeare, this rendering of 'Macbeth' demonstrates precisely how power corrupts, and does so with a prodigality of invention - a single witch but one straight from the Noh, an even more frightening Lady Macbeth, and a fully imagined warlord-ridden medieval civilisation with a forest that really moves. - NFT brochure.
    Drunken Angel
    Tue 14 to Thu 16 May
    Japan 1948 · 98 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune.
    The angel is an alcoholic doctor, the demon is a tubercular gangster, and they battle it out in postwar Tokyo. Vital, exciting, morally complex, this brilliantly realised film is in a way Kurosawa's 'first'. Of it he said: 'In this picture, I was finally myself. It was my picture. I was doing it and no-one else.' - NFT brochure.
    The Bad Sleep Well
    Tue 14 to Thu 16 May
    Japan 1960 · 151 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Mori Masayuki.
    For this first film made by his own production company, Kurosawa said he 'wanted to make a movie of some social significance.' So he did: corruption, graft, bribery at the public level, the connivance of corporations and government. A true revenger tragedy (the gloss on 'Hamlet' is intended), it is Kurosawa's most socially responsible film. - NFT brochure.
    Stray Dog
    Tue 14 to Thu 16 May
    Japan 1949 · 122 mins Subtitles · 12
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura.
    A crook robs a cop, snags his pistol and leads him on a wonderfully labyrinthine chase through a Tokyo under reconstruction. When they finally meet, however, cop and robber are revealed as one - both men motivated by much the same needs. Here the entwined nature of good and evil, an important Kurosawa theme, makes a major appearance. - NFT brochure.
    The Hidden Fortress
    Fri 31 May to Sun 2 Jun
    Japan 1958 · 139 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara.
    Kurosawa long had an affection for the ordinary, escapist, frivolous historical spectacular - the chambara - and here he makes a wonderfully sly one of his own. The dethroned but still imperious princess and her faithful general somehow get through enemy lines, more hindered than helped by two greedy bumpkins who get themselves involved in the exciting complications of a plot which so appealed to the director of Star Wars that he lifted it totally.
    Sanjuro
    Fri 31 May to Sun 2 Jun
    Japan 1962 · 96 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yuzo Kayama.
    After the success of Yojimbo, Kurosawa used the same protagonist to take on corruption in high places, creating a spirited satirical comedy which cuts deep into bushido, the 'way of the warrior'. Not only does Sanjuro have the crooks in the castle, he must also cope with a boy-scout samurai troupe. Lots of tongue-in-cheek derring-do and a deliciously bloody finale.
    Seven Samurai
    Sun 2 to Tue 4 Jun
    Japan 1954 · 198 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune.
    A band of masterless samurai save a group of farmers from bandits and learn that - though the bad guys are dead and peace has arrived - they didn't win after all. The Hashimoto/Oguri/Kurosawa script is wonderfully detailed and the final reel is one of the glories of world cinema.
    Red Beard
    Mon 3 & Tue 4 Jun
    Japan 1965 · 185 mins Subtitles · cert tbc
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Yuzo Kayama, Terumi Niki.
    Kurosawa's first bildungsroman: a young intern learns hard love from his red-bearded superior and in the process finds himself. Their relationship, much like the one in Drunken Angel, is seen against a marvellously detailed recreation of late Edo Japan, an earthquake, and a sentiment which is never sentimental.
    Record of a Living Being (I Live in Fear)
    Wed 5 & Thu 6 Jun
    Japan 1955 · 104 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura.
    Kurosawa said that the film is about 'this social problem'. It certainly is - how to live with the atom bomb. A factory owner wants to emigrate, his selfish family doesn't and eventually has him incarcerated. The inherent didacticism of the film is much mitigated by attention to minute detail, by fine ensemble acting, and by the sheer size of the man's motivation.
    Ikiru
    (To Live)
    Wed 5 & Thu 6 Jun
    Japan 1952 · 143 mins Subtitles · PG
    Akira Kurosawa
    Cast: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Kyoko Seki.
    A celebration of the intrinsic nobility of human nature as a humble civil servant, following a drunken bout of panic, aimless wandering, and odd encounters on learning that he is dying of cancer, finally discovers a meaning to his empty life by patiently pushing through a project to turn a city dump into a children's playground. An intensely moving film all the same, elegiac and sometimes quirkishly funny in the manner of Kurosawa's elective model, John Ford. - Time Out.
    I saw recently Rashomon, Yojimbo, Sanjuro and Throne of Blood with a Q&A, so looks like a couple more to see especially Hidden Fortress and Red Beard.
    Oscar Merkx
     
  9. John Kwong

    John Kwong Stunt Coordinator

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    Just picked this up yesterday and "scanned" through it. Here are some more details:
    Letterbox: 1.85:1 - including the bonus interviews
    Easter Eggs - Kursorawa's commercials for Suntory Special Reserve (I found about 6 so far)
    Bonus Interviews - It states that there is 90 mins of bonus interview fotage and was edited by Teruyo Nogami. They are listed as:
    • Costume and set
    • Actors and Mifune
    • Light and shadow
    • Shooting for editing
    • Spirit of swordplay
    • Western Samurai's
    • "Dodes'kaden" Onward
    • Highs and Lows
    I haven't really had time to look through all of the disc but it looks very impressive. The documentary is shot in High Definition and looks fab. I'd highly reccommend this to anyone who is interested in Kurosawa! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. JimNorton

    JimNorton Auditioning

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    I don't understand the belly-aching about this program. It was shot in HD for TELEVISION! This was not a feature film, it was a TV program for PBS. We're lucky they shot it on HD.

    Once again...this was shown on TV!! I agree and understnad the complaints about Wellspring's DVDs when it is a feature film, but this is now getting ridiculous - crying for crying sake.
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    What does it matter that it was shown on TV, Jim? Why does that make it less worthy of a quality presentation?

    It was shot hi-def 16x9; seems like the perfect candidate for 16x9 enhancement.

    Just out of curiosity, Jim, why do you think Wellspring didn't think it was worth an enhanced transfer? And do you think this release evinces the commitment to quality they've been exclaiming of late?
     
  12. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  13. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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  14. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Thanks for reminding me that this one
    [​IMG]
     
  15. JimNorton

    JimNorton Auditioning

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    I mean no disrespect to anyone in the forum, maybe I just don't understand.

    It just seems to me that everyone here is so focused on negatives and would rather moan about something than appreciate it. Do you see any other company willing to put out this title? No, becaue the profit margin is nill; the fact that we are able to get these titles at all, thanks to smaller, little companies like Wellspring is a blessing; but no one even understands that.

    Maybe the reason that Wellspring didn't enhance it is because of profit margin or maybe they didn't have the money to make it anamorphic. It is after all a business, these companies aren't out there to make you happy; let's face it, they are out there to make money. Hopefully in the process they can make us happy while making money but that's not always the case.

    I'm a huge sports fan and would have liked my Twins to sign Jason Giambi but they just didn't have the money. Sometimes these companies aren't as sinister as everyone thinks
     
  16. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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  17. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  18. JohnAD

    JohnAD Cinematographer

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  19. Philip Klein

    Philip Klein Stunt Coordinator

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  20. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    This documentary will be shown next saturday on BBC1 or 2 in two parts.
    [​IMG]
     

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