471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

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kinjitsu
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471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#1 Post by kinjitsu » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:37 pm

Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/2104/471_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

In the 1960s, Japanese filmmakers responded to a stale studio system by looking for new ways to tell stories; Shohei Imamura was one of the leading figures of this new wave. With the three films in this set—Pigs and Battleships, The Insect Woman, and Intentions of Murder—Imamura truly emerged as an auteur, bringing to his national cinema an anthropological eye and a heretofore unseen taste for the irreverent. Claiming his interests lay in “the relationship of the lower part of the human body and the lower part of the social structure,” Imamura dotted the decade with earthy, juicy, idiosyncratic films featuring persevering, willful heroines. His remains a unique cinematic voice.

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Pigs and Battleships

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/693/473_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

A dazzling, unruly portrait of American–occupied postwar Japan, Pigs and Battleships details, with escalating absurdity, the desperate power struggles between small-time gangsters in the port town of Yokosuka. Shot in gorgeously composed, bustling cinemascope, Pigs follows a young couple as they try to navigate Yokosuka’s corrupt businessmen, yakuza, and their own unsure future together. With its breakneck pacing and constantly inventive cinematography, this film marked Shohei Imamura as a major voice in Japanese cinema.

Disc Features

- New, restored high-definition digital transfers
- Introduction by critic Tony Rayns
- Imamura, the Free Thinker, a 1995 episode from the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps
- New and improved English subtitle translations
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essays by film critics Audie Bock

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The Insect Woman

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/696/474_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Born in a rural farming village in 1918, Tome grows up to survive decades of Japanese social upheaval, as well as abuse and servitude at the hands of various men. Yet Shohei Imamura, with his trademark “entomological” approach, refuses to make a victim of Tome (played by the extraordinary Sachiko Hidari), instead observing her as a fascinating, pragmatic creature of twentieth-century Japan. A portrait of opportunism and resilience in three generations of women, The Insect Woman is Imamura’s most expansive film, and Tome his ultimate heroine.

Disc Features

- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Introduction by critic Tony Rayns
- Conversations between Shohei Imamura and critic Tadao Sato
- New and improved English subtitle translations
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critics Dennis Lim

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Intentions of Murder

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/699/472_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Sadako (Masumi Harukawa), cursed by generations before her and neglected by her common-law husband, falls prey to a brutal home intruder. As a result, rather than become a victim, she forges a path to her own awakening. This disturbing and pitiless evocation of domestic drudgery and sexual violence is also a fascinating, unsentimental account of one woman’s determination. Filled with director Shohei Imamura’s characteristic flashbacks and dream sequences, Intentions of Murder is a gripping, audacious portrait of a woman coming into her own in a man’s world.

Disc Features

- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Introduction by critic Tony Rayns
- Conversations between Shohei Imamura and critic Tadao Sato
- New and improved English subtitle translations
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic James Quandt

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Cronenfly
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#2 Post by Cronenfly » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:10 pm

I'm certainly in no position to complain, given how much I've been looking forward to more Imamura, but I really wish that Rayns was doing feature-length commentaries on these (the intros are probably going to be great, but given how engrossing his Vengeance is Mine track is I'd rather see him have more time to speak than less) and/or that the Richie commentaries had not (seemingly) disappeared into thin air. Given the set as it stands now, I think that it would have been fine as an Eclipse release, with liner notes by Rayns (a la Gallagher's notes on the Rossellini set). That said, I don't mind shelling out the extra cash for these titles, even if the features are a little slimmer than I'd hoped, especially if it means more Imamura/Japanese New Wave down the line.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#3 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:36 pm

Cronenfly wrote:I'm certainly in no position to complain,... but I really wish that Rayns was doing feature-length commentaries on these.

Well, I've updated that standard opinion since hearing the bizarre Mizoguchi chatter on the MoC's, and the strangely detached, House-of-Windsoresque, dry high perch that he speaks from on Vampyr.

Rayns aways had it... so hopefully he'll get it back.

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Cronenfly
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#4 Post by Cronenfly » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:58 pm

I haven't seen/listened to his Mizo/Vampyr contributions, but I'm hoping Imamura will see him back in fighting shape (and if his Vengeance is Mine track is any indication, he should be in these intros).

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Fiery Angel
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#5 Post by Fiery Angel » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:24 pm

Am I missing something? 3 films and 4 spine numbers--will there be another disc of extras?

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Murdoch
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#6 Post by Murdoch » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:39 pm

Fiery Angel wrote:[...] will there be another disc of extras?
Yes, if the Teshigahara box is any indication.

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PerfectDepth
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#7 Post by PerfectDepth » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:42 pm

Fiery Angel wrote:Am I missing something? 3 films and 4 spine numbers--will there be another disc of extras?
No. The box itself always gets a spine number.
HerrSchreck wrote: Well, I've updated that standard opinion since hearing the bizarre Mizoguchi chatter on the MoC's, and the strangely detached, House-of-Windsoresque, dry high perch that he speaks from on Vampyr.

Rayns aways had it... so hopefully he'll get it back.
I enjoyed his Chungking Express commentary quite a bit even if It's not really a film that opens itself to a ton of scholarly discourse. He does give a ton of great background information and anecdotes. Is the Vengeance commentary that good? I have the CC, but I've often considered picking up the MOC for the sole purpose of checking it out.

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Fiery Angel
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#8 Post by Fiery Angel » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:59 pm

PerfectDepth wrote:
Fiery Angel wrote:Am I missing something? 3 films and 4 spine numbers--will there be another disc of extras?
No. The box itself always gets a spine number.
Kind of a silly numbering system, but I guess that's how they do things.

JonathanM
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#9 Post by JonathanM » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:52 am

HerrSchreck wrote:Well, I've updated that standard opinion since hearing the bizarre Mizoguchi chatter on the MoC's, and the strangely detached, House-of-Windsoresque, dry high perch that he speaks from on Vampyr.

Rayns aways had it... so hopefully he'll get it back.
His Mizoguchi intros are quite funny. I reviewed three of them back when they came out and for the first two I watched he made it clear that he thought the films were rubbish, "lesser works" as he put it before launching into an explanation of how the studios had bent Mizo's arm into working on some script that completely failed to interest him. By contrast Rayn's Streets of Shame comments seemed to reflect the director's own joy at getting back to something a bit more interesting.

I was lucky enough to see Rayns (along with a few other notables) speak at the BFI and he was in fine form there. Lobbing hand-grenades into the discussion and sitting back with a smile on his face as he watched them go off.

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sidehacker
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#10 Post by sidehacker » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:05 am

I've only seen one of these, The Insect Woman, and I don't hesitate to call it a masterpiece. Imamura, compared to his contemporary, Yoshishige Yoshida, is definitely a bit more laid back. He's definitely the funniest member of the Japanese New Wave, which seems to, generally speaking, suffer from some problems of overt-seriousness. I love Yoshida and Oshima and I've seen more of their work than Imamura's, but I think they both lack of a sense of humor that makes them pretty intolerable at times.

Needless to say, I'm definitely looking forward to Pigs & Battleships and Intentions of Murder.

jojo
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#11 Post by jojo » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:11 pm

I saw Intentions of Murder on the big screen last year and there's no doubt in my mind that it's a great film. I think there might be some people who will be uncomfortable with how the relationship between the two leads plays out, but Imamura handles it with wit and intelligence. It's also, visually, one of his most beautiful films.

Perkins Cobb
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#12 Post by Perkins Cobb » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:26 pm

All three of these are terrific movies, and I'd be falling all over myself if I hadn't partaken of the old JNW bootlegs. But Imamura's masterpieces are A Man Vanishes (1967) and Profound Desire of the Gods (1968), so it's a little frustrating that Criterion keeps skipping around them.

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Yojimbo
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#13 Post by Yojimbo » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:48 pm

sidehacker wrote:I've only seen one of these, The Insect Woman, and I don't hesitate to call it a masterpiece. Imamura, compared to his contemporary, Yoshishige Yoshida, is definitely a bit more laid back. He's definitely the funniest member of the Japanese New Wave, which seems to, generally speaking, suffer from some problems of overt-seriousness. I love Yoshida and Oshima and I've seen more of their work than Imamura's, but I think they both lack of a sense of humor that makes them pretty intolerable at times.

Needless to say, I'm definitely looking forward to Pigs & Battleships and Intentions of Murder.
Agreed on your assessment of Imamura and his two contemporaries, although Yoshida at least in 'Escape From Japan' showed at least some suspicion of a sense of humour.
To put it another way, given a choice, Imamura would definitely be the one of the three I'd most likely go drinking with.

Can't wait for these releases.

poohbear
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#14 Post by poohbear » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:21 pm

Cronenfly wrote:I'm certainly in no position to complain, given how much I've been looking forward to more Imamura, but I really wish that Rayns was doing feature-length commentaries on these
Oh god no. I'd argue that the absence of commentaries by him is in of itself a bonus.

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Cronenfly
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#15 Post by Cronenfly » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:59 pm

Well, one man's loss etcetera etcetera.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#16 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:14 pm

What wonderful news.

This sounds like a near perfect set. While these are hardly Imamura's _only_ masterpieces -- they are three of his best -- and make for a fine set.

(currently in Japan -- and consequently almost entirely out of touch for another couple of weeks. Leaving Osaka -- and easy internet connectivity today -- for Nara -- and then, in a few days, Kyoto).

MEK

erick
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#17 Post by erick » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:47 am

This really is wonderful news!

I have vivid memories of seeing Pigs and Battleships more than 20 years ago at a rare re-showing at the Roxy in Philadelphia. It was my first exposure to Imamura and I loved it.

I can only hope that this will mean that Criterion will get the rights for Black Rain and make me a truly happy man.

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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#18 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:13 am

erick wrote:I can only hope that this will mean that Criterion will get the rights for Black Rain and make me a truly happy man.
In case you get tired of waiting. there is a French DVD release which has English subtitles.

James
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#19 Post by James » Sun May 03, 2009 12:21 am

For those familiar with these movies, is this set a good thing to buy if you haven't seen anything by Imamura (I'm watching Vengeance is Mine soon)?

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knives
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#20 Post by knives » Sun May 03, 2009 12:47 am

It might not be the best thing to jump into, but is not as weird an experience as Vengeance is Mine, which gave me the most confused feeling I've ever had from a movie.

James
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#21 Post by James » Sun May 03, 2009 12:52 am

knives wrote:It might not be the best thing to jump into, but is not as weird an experience as Vengeance is Mine, which gave me the most confused feeling I've ever had from a movie.
Okay, maybe I will rent it first; thanks.

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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#22 Post by AisleSeat » Sun May 03, 2009 4:22 pm

james wrote:For those familiar with these movies, is this set a good thing to buy if you haven't seen anything by Imamura (I'm watching Vengeance is Mine soon)?
This is a wonderful set for those new to Imamura. Pigs and Battleships, in particular, in the film to begin with, as its two hours of gritty, raw energy will leave you gaping.

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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#23 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon May 04, 2009 9:08 am

AisleSeat wrote:[This is a wonderful set for those new to Imamura. Pigs and Battleships, in particular, in the film to begin with, as its two hours of gritty, raw energy will leave you gaping.
I agree.

I can't imagine a _better_ introduction to Imamura than this set.

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manicsounds
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#24 Post by manicsounds » Tue May 05, 2009 12:43 am


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oldsheperd
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Re: 471-474 Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

#25 Post by oldsheperd » Tue May 05, 2009 10:32 am

This may be a bit off-topic but I've noticed that the Japanese Directors really embraced the 2:35/1 aspect ratio more than any other country's filmmakers. It is my opinion a real treat to watch these on my widescreen tv since it appears that most Japanese directors made a true artform out of the aspect ratio by weighing the frame so creatively.

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