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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:00 pm 
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The Ballad of Narayama

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This haunting, kabuki-inflected version of a Japanese folk legend is set in a remote mountain village, where food is scarce and tradition dictates that citizens who have reached their seventieth year must be carried to the summit of Mount Narayama and left there to die. The sacrificial elder at the center of the tale is Orin (Kinuyo Tanaka), a dignified and dutiful woman who spends her dwindling days securing the happiness of her loyal widowed son with a respectable new wife. Filmed almost entirely on cunningly designed studio sets, in brilliant color and widescreen, The Ballad of Narayama is a stylish and vividly formal work from Japan’s cinematic golden age, directed by the dynamic Keisuke Kinoshita.

• New 4K digital master from the 2011 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Trailer and teaser
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Philip Kemp


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:11 pm 
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kinoshita's narayama on blu a dream comes true.... :)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am
I've only seen Imamura's version of the film and thought it to be a masterpiece (though I haven't found the funds to pick up the MoC yet). How does this version compare to the other? Are they alike in ways aside from the narrative?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:19 pm 
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bamwc2 wrote:
I've only seen Imamura's version of the film and thought it to be a masterpiece (though I haven't found the funds to pick up the MoC yet). How does this version compare to the other? Are they alike in ways aside from the narrative?

First, the Kinoshita is less explicit, given it was made in 1958 and the Imamura a quarter century later. The greatest difference is that the Kinoshita is quite stylized with a very theatrical feel showing strong Kabuki influences, somewhat like the Golden Pavilion scene in Schrader's Mishima with respect to the stage sets. If the BD is all that one hopes, the sets will steal the show. Finally (and this is just my humble opinion colored by the fact I'm a Tanaka fanboy), I don't think Sakamoto Sumiko's Orin holds a candle to Tanaka Kinuyo. But YMMV.

(Full disclosure: I own the MoC Imamura and the old Tartan Kinoshita. I'm over the moon about a Kinoshita Blu. I agree the Imamura is a masterpiece but the Kinoshita goes to that desert island with me.)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:39 am 
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Very surprised at this announcement since the Japanese Blu-ray was only released less than a month ago.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:51 pm 

Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
Bluray.com


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:38 pm 

Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
DVD Beaver


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Svet mentions a possible encoding error on this disc. Any other reviews around that mention this?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:01 am 
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I just checked mine (which is a finished release) and at 36:04, a chapter stop, it starts to stutter like I'm watching Netflix and my network just got bombarded, until about 36:26 or so and then smooths back out. Shame because it looks gorgeous otherwise.

Also, I was a little thrown that the back of the package mentions the transfer comes from a 2K restoration when the original announcement said 4K. The booklet clarifies the film was scanned at 4K but that the restoration work was then done in 2K.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:12 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:01 am
Yep, I got the same. A replacement would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:29 am 
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cdnchris wrote:
The booklet clarifies the film was scanned at 4K but that the restoration work was then done in 2K.

Notwithstanding the claims made at announcement time, this is a pretty standard procedure, isn't it? I'd love to be corrected by real industry pros if I'm wrong about that, but as far as I know an full 4K restoration is pretty rare and reserved mostly for the big studios' crown jewels.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:36 am 
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cdnchris wrote:
I just checked mine (which is a finished release) and at 36:04, a chapter stop, it starts to stutter like I'm watching Netflix and my network just got bombarded, until about 36:26 or so and then smooths back out. Shame because it looks gorgeous otherwise.


A real shame! Hopefully it'll get fixed soon. And hopefully they'll have a replacement program in place for early buyers. I'm really looking forward to seeing this, as I have never seen anything by the director.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:48 am 
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Brian C wrote:
cdnchris wrote:
The booklet clarifies the film was scanned at 4K but that the restoration work was then done in 2K.

Notwithstanding the claims made at announcement time, this is a pretty standard procedure, isn't it? I'd love to be corrected by real industry pros if I'm wrong about that, but as far as I know an full 4K restoration is pretty rare and reserved mostly for the big studios' crown jewels.

Yes, that's absolutely standard procedure. Unless you have realistic expectations of a significant number of 4K screenings, there's very little point in effectively doubling the resolution that the restorers are working on - with all the considerable additional expense that that implies.

As far as I'm aware, the BFI's in-house restorations are almost invariably 2K, certainly including the Hitchcock silents.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:51 pm 
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That's certainly not surprising considering the costs. I was more confused by seeing "2K" on the back after Criterion's announcement mentioning 4K. I had thought that meant the film was scanned at 2K and not 4K as originally suggested.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:56 pm 
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cdnchris wrote:
I just checked mine (which is a finished release) and at 36:04, a chapter stop, it starts to stutter like I'm watching Netflix and my network just got bombarded, until about 36:26 or so and then smooths back out. Shame because it looks gorgeous otherwise.

Mine's in the mail. Out of curiosity, which chapter?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:15 pm
cdnchris wrote:
I just checked mine (which is a finished release) and at 36:04, a chapter stop, it starts to stutter like I'm watching Netflix and my network just got bombarded, until about 36:26 or so and then smooths back out. Shame because it looks gorgeous otherwise.


Do you use a Toshiba BDX1200?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:15 pm 
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triodelover wrote:
Mine's in the mail. Out of curiosity, which chapter?

Chapter 7.

simonjamesconstable wrote:
Do you use a Toshiba BDX1200?


PS3 primarily. But it seems to do it on everything. Does it on another Sony player and on my computer as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:14 pm 
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Scanning at 4K produces greater results even if the cleanup was done in 2K. Same principle as Apple requiring 24bit 96khz audio masters from record labels because they end up with even better sounding 256AACs.

There's a bit of a grey area regarding "2K restoration", a lot are actually done at 1080p (which is very nearly 2K, but technically not the same).

Looking at the big picture, this is the same as 10 years ago when (if you were lucky) a film got scanned in HD (1080p/2K) and was cleaned up in SD for DVD. At least now scanning in 4K should mean they don't have to do that bit ever again, but I have a feeling they'll be re-visiting 4K scans to do 4K clean-up before the end of the decade.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:05 am 
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Did the same thing on my PS3. It reminds me of those old dual layer DVDs that would pause for a split second when changing layers midway through the film. Some films would pick scenes where the change was very well disguised. The 20 second stutter (gives one time to really take in the leaves) in The Ballad of Narayama isn't a deal breaker, imo. Criterion should offer a replacement but I don't think the hiccup will stop anyone from enjoying the disc.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Hi, I wanted to post a quick note I received from Criterion.

Quote:
Hi S.

There's not a problem with the encode of the Criterion DVD or Blu-ray release of THE BATTLE OF NARAYAMA. What is perceived to be an encoding error is actually inherent to the surviving film elements and the restored materials. It is also present in the 2007 Tartan UK release.

The Criterion version is consistent with the Shochiku restoration that premiered at Cannes last year, which was the basis for the Criterion release.

Hope this clears things up.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:41 pm 
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Then the same glitch should appear on the DVD, no? Does it? Imma check.

It does. Not a huge problem, but it does ruin a lovely shot.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:46 am 
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As a final note about this "glitch", I watched the movie on Hulu this morning and it did the same thing while streaming.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:24 pm 
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The glitch looks like they optically slowed down a pan at the beginning to make the camera movement match the pacing of the narrator, he sings quite a bit before the trees part to reveal the asshole grandson and his awful pregnant girlfriend.

I've never seen the film before last night, but throughout, I felt like the color was significantly off. It seems like saturation has been boosted and at times seems too green--but I think that might be because they pushed it too yellow, making scenes that ought to be blue turn green and making the golden harvested grain/rice into an almost florescent yellow. Take the famous shot of the six people who come to tell the rules of the journey to Narayama. In the teaser and the Trailer this setup is blue, in the criterion transfer this shot is a rich and lovely ghost green.

The color balance of the teaser and trailer look perfect, a little faded and low contrast, but otherwise it doesn't feel "wrong/shopped" the way that the feature does.

The film is stylistically fascinating, I love the bold experimentation with sets and color and the superb widescreen compositions. the wild look of the film kept reminding me of the Wizard of Oz, which I suppose makes sense, given the elaborate sets and rich color of both films. But I don't think this film was supposed to have an Oz esque color palatte even rich and expressive color doesn't necessarily look like that. (in a hilarious side note, I find it morbidly funny thinking of the grandson saying to the grandmother, "you're off to see the wizard" before she is taken to her fate).

The acting in the film from the grandmother and her son is absolutely superb, they find a way to make some of the more atrocious and theatrically stilted lines work. Most of the other actors, particularly the grandson, can't do anything with the dialog and his performance never seems to overcome the on-the-nose dialog. In some ways this is intentional, brushing with broad strokes, but it also brings down the film somewhat because the two leads manage to imbue a great deal of subtlety and pathos into the characters, even when they are playing a moment with an expected heightened broadness, such as the son's return to his mother at the end.

It's funny, I didn't realize there were two versions, so throughout the film I kept thinking this was such an odd amount of an old fashioned sort of experimentation for the early eighties. :-/


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:32 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:25 am
Yea i am watching and was shocked at glitch where u said, i looked it up immediately and found this! Haha And then checked hulu plus and it's also there so it was a transfer thing, Def what other guy said about shutter, that's unfortunate! This film is so fascinating. Maybe even a bad decision filming it? Also notice u can hear the stage when man runs down "dirt" path haha. Tho it is Def conscious of itself as a set and still worth watching!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:57 pm 
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I don't think it's a 'glitch' I think it was done optically when the film was originally made, so it's built into the materials.


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