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5 new Criterions in January, including Kagemusha! (1 Viewer)

Matt Czyz

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 5, 2003
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902
Real Name
Matt Czyz
All right! "Box Art Coming Soon"! I love that movie!


Actually, I've never even heard of any of these 5 films, so I won't be picking up any of them. I'm almost more interested in Criterion's cover art these days then the movies themselves. Keep up the good work, Criterion cover design guys!
 

Drew Reiber

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 10, 2000
Messages
534
I've been waiting for more Suzuki titles since being exposed to him through the HVE releases in January. The guy is a crazy genius, blending film noir, Kurosawa, French New Wave and traditional forms of theater (Japanese & others) in his films.

His various filmmaking styles (depending on the era) are quite different, with these two latest releases coming from the point just before he gave up on Nikkatsu's more standard studio style with the outrageous "Tokyo Drifter" and "Branded to Kill". However, don't let that convince you that his earlier work isn't worth checking out. For more traditional filmmaking of it's time, he was still terrific at it and would occassionally splash experimental moments of genius in odd places.

Here's an excerpt from the Donald Ritchie book on Japanese Cinema in regards to "Elegy to Violence" aka "Fighting Elegy":

Seijun Suzuki's "Elegy to Violence" - The hero is a typical, close-cropped, humorless, pent-up schoolboy of the sort still seen in manga. His girlfriend is far too pure to do anything, but he hates himself for masturbating; a life of violence seems the only answer.

A film quote: "I DO NOT MASTURBATE.... I FIGHT!"

My only serious disappointment is the lack of supplements announced. None of the HVE or the Media Blasters "Pistol Opera" have anything about the man. He has also influenced contemporary American filmmakers. Not a lot of people know who he is because there simply isn't enough out there in the English-speaking film world to bring him the credit he deserves.... yet.

The first two Criterion releases ("Branded" and "Drifter") have good interviews, but I would hope they could afford to track down more material from Japan, create some scholar commentaries (Ritchie perhaps?) and maybe more about his world famous surrealist trilogy (maybe even a release!). I hope that Criterion delivers better supplments if/when they release "Story of a Prostitute" and/or "Gate of Flesh".

Btw, very excited about seeing Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" too.
 

Seth Paxton

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Nov 5, 1998
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7,585
Well one thing I've come to appreciate with releases by Kino and Criterion is that while I may not want to buy everything they put out, I often find that I do want to be able to rent the films at some point. So DVD releases by highly regarded foreign directors or any films considered to have some artistic merit or influence are fully welcomed by me.

Maybe Criterion doesn't sell as many as they'd like on those titles, but I hope they realize that they are getting some sales just to places like Netflix who are looking to meet the demands of renters like me.

I mean if the titles aren't available for viewing then they can't very well build up a following of newly converted fans. It's like the chicken and the egg, no fans = no money for a release, but no release = no new fans.

Just think of films like Shawshank Redemption that blew up on video if someone had taken the attitude of "well, no point in putting it out since it didn't do well at the theater".

I'm glad Criterion doesn't just wait for "sure things" when it comes to putting films out. Just being released by them rouses my curiousity. So a couple more titles hit the Netflix queue. :)
 

Bob Turnbull

Supporting Actor
Joined
Dec 2, 2001
Messages
840

Absolutely Seth...I rented Suzuki's Branded To Kill a short time ago because it sounded cool. I ended up loving it and will probably pick it up eventually. I wrote a short review in the Expanding Horizons thread, but no one commented on it (sigh...). It was a bit like a fever dream and I immediately wanted to see other films by him. I've found Tokyo Drifter and Kanto Wanderer in some local rental stores and will grab them just as soon as I'm done the October Scary Movie Challange.

So when I started to read this thread I got very excited that the first two new releases were from Suzuki. Even though these seem to be some of his earlier films, I'm very much looking forward to seeing them. Most likely as rentals, but if the other Suzukis end up being good, I might even buy blind.

Between titles I've bought (both faves and blind buys) and ones I've rented, I've probably seen about 70 odd Criterions now. My success ratio is so high that I'll pretty much try out anything released by them.
 

Deepak Shenoy

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 3, 1998
Messages
642
Touchez pas au Grisbi ! Can't wait to add this Gabin classic to my collection. I hope La Bete Humaine and Le Jour Se Leve are in the pipeline.

I am pretty excited about Kagemusha too. I will skip the rest.

-D
 

Jim_K

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Apr 7, 2000
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10,087
Kagemusha is a buy for me. I'll probably end up renting the Gabin film along with the Suzuki films through my library or Netflix.
 

Gordon McMurphy

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Aug 3, 2002
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More Becker! Great! :) :emoji_thumbsup:

If you love beautifully shot black and white French films about human emotions, then you'll love Touchez pas au Grisbi and Casque d'Or. I hope that one of them has a commentary or documentary on Becker, but as they long as the transfers are good (and they will be - it's Criterion) then I'll definately buy them - and Kagemusha. The Suzuki's... I'm not sure; I love Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill (I have the R2 editions: full 2.35:1 ratio and anamorphic - Criterion editions are cropped to 2.00:1) but I'm not sure about splurging more cash. I'll wish-list them, though.

Like Eyes Without a Face (Criterion's finest 1-disc SE, in my book) Kagemusha has been long-awaited by zillions of fans and I'm totally delighted that it is finally on the way via Criterion.
 

Kirk Tsai

Screenwriter
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Nov 1, 2000
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1,424
Kagemusha is among my favorite Kurosawas, and I don't think I've ever seen the 3 hour version of the film. Great news!
 

Tim_C

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 25, 2004
Messages
84
I think I'll pick up one from each director, "Fighting Elegy," "Touchez Pas au Grisbi," and "Kagemusha."

I've seen the latter two and I've heard great things about Suzuki films, so...

I'll rent the other two and buy them if I like them.
 

Gordon McMurphy

Senior HTF Member
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Aug 3, 2002
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Yes, I seem to have contradicted myself! :b

The previous Suzuki films from Criterion were spine numbers 38 and 39 and hail from the non-anamorphic days of Criterion before they were making all-new hi-def transfers with MTI digital restoration. They would never create such transfers again. You can trust them now. When was the last time they created a "bad" transfer?! ;)
 

PaulP

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Joined
Oct 22, 2001
Messages
3,291


I'll be lying if I said I'd heard about the four films for which there are covers available right now, but come on... Kagemusha, it's Akira Kurosawa!
 

Brook K

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Joined
Feb 22, 2000
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9,467
Hoffmann has been off the release schedule for several years. Supposedly they can't find good enough elements for a release.

I'll pick up Kagemusha and rent the rest. Love Tokyo Drifter but I was mixed on Branded to Kill so Suzuki is not a must buy director for me.
 

Simon Caleb

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 8, 1999
Messages
214
That's interesting Brook, I spoke with Criterion earlier this year (Feb) and was told it's still coming, where did you hear it's been cancelled for several years?
 

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