13 / BD 55 Onibaba

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13 / BD 55 Onibaba

#1 Post by Pinback » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:32 am

Onibaba

Image Image

Kaneto Shindo, one of Japan's most prolific directors, received his biggest international success with the release of Onibaba in 1964. Its depiction of violence and graphic sexuality was unprecedented at the time of release. Shindo managed — through his own production company Kindaï Eiga Kyokai — to bypass the strict, self-regulated Japanese film industry and pave the way for such films as Yasuzo Masumura's Mojuu (1969) and Nagisa Oshima's Ai no corrida (1976).

Onibaba is set during a brutal period in history, a Japan ravaged by civil war between rivaling shogunates. Weary from combat, samurai are drawn towards the seven-foot high susuki grass fields to hide and rest themselves, whereupon they are ambushed and murdered by a ruthless mother (Nobuko Otowa) and daughter-in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) team. The women throw the samurai bodies into a pit, and barter their armour and weapons for food. When Hachi (Kei Sato), a neighbour returning from the wars, brings bad news, he threatens the women's partnership.

Erotically charged and steeped in the symbolism and superstition of its Buddhist and Shinto roots, Kaneto Shindo's Onibaba is in part a modern parable on consumerism, a study of the destructiveness of sexual desire and — filmed within a claustrophobic sea of grass — one of the most striking and unique films of the last century, winning Kiyomi Kuroda the Blue Ribbon Award for Cinematography in 1965. The memorably frenetic drumming soundtrack was scored by long-time Shindo collaborator Hikaru Hayashi. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present this major work in all its newly restored glory for the first time on DVD in the UK.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• Newly restored high-definition transfer, anamorphic 2.35:1 OAR (Gorgeous new 1080p HD transfer on the Blu-ray)
• Full-length director's audio commentary by director Kaneto Shindo and the stars of the film, Kei Sato, and Jitsuko Yoshimura
• Video introduction by Alex Cox
• 8mm footage (40-minutes) shot on location by lead actor Kei Sato
• Optional English subtitles (new translation)
• Original trailer
• Production stills and promotional art gallery
• 24-page booklet (36 pages on the Blu-ray) with a new essay by Doug Cummings, an English translation of the original short Buddhist fable that inspired the film and a statement from writer/director Kaneto Shindo about why he made Onibaba
Last edited by Pinback on Sat May 07, 2005 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#2 Post by swingo » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:35 am

would this cause a suddenly oop condition of CC Onibaba?


Axel.

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#3 Post by mbalson » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:39 am

would this cause a suddenly oop condition of CC Onibaba?
Of course not. The MoC releases are Region 2 PAL.
Which means the rights to the film held by Criterion in North America are obviously unaffected.

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#4 Post by Lino » Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:01 pm

Link to the Masters of Cinema article in which they compare the Criterion edition and the japanese Asmik Ace one:

http://www.mastersofcinema.org/reviews/onibaba.html

and a summary of the film's themes:

http://www.filmref.com/directors/dirpages/shindo.html
Kaneto Shindo presents a harrowing and provocative examination of godlessness, amorality, and barbarism in Onibaba. Using spare, pantheistic landscapes, high contrast, chiaroscuro imagery, unnerving, environmental sounds, and frenetic tribal rhythms (composed by Hikari Hayashi) that evoke a sense of primitivism, Shindo illustrates the manifestation of the corruption of the human soul as a perversion of natural order: the ominous presence of The Hole that reflects the literal and figurative gateway to the underworld; the old woman's recounted story of crop frost in the summer that is further validated by Hachi's anecdote of the rising of a black sun in Kyoto; the echoed sounds of birds in flight as the daughter-in-law rushes through the ubiquitous, lacerating reeds in order to rendezvous with Hachi. An allegory for the underlying hypocrisy and absence of civilized behavior in the conduct of war, Onibaba exposes the man's innate propensity towards violence, narcissism, and inhumanity in the absence of moral and spiritual direction. In the end, the old woman's incessant, reaffirming pleas to the empty, forbidding darkness becomes an unreciprocated, desperate cry for validation and humanity.

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#5 Post by Arn777 » Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:26 pm

Hmm, I am not sure it makes commercial sense for MoC to release Onibaba on dvd, since there is already a very good Criterion dvd available, and I would suspect that MoC's customer base largely overlaps with Criterion's.

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#6 Post by Pinback » Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:56 pm

Arn777 wrote:Hmm, I am not sure it makes commercial sense for MoC to release Onibaba on dvd, since there is already a very good Criterion dvd available, and I would suspect that MoC's customer base largely overlaps with Criterion's.
There are, as detailed in the link proveded by Annie above, problems with Criterion's DVD. Also, MoC have bagged an audio commentary from Shindo for their DVD. As a fan of Onibaba and owner of the Criterion DVD, I won't hesitate to trade up when the MoC version is released...

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#7 Post by Lino » Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:06 pm

Pinback wrote: As a fan of Onibaba and owner of the Criterion DVD, I won't hesitate to trade up when the MoC version is released...
Actually, I will keep both. How can I not? \:D/

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#8 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:07 am

Annie Mall wrote:Actually, I will keep both. How can I not? \:D/
I'm with you Annie! Unless MoC transfer over all the Criterion features, like the silent footage, I'll need to keep both! Also I'm a big fan of those Criterion menu screens!

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#9 Post by peerpee » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:39 pm

Well, I'll be keeping my Criterion copy -- for the exclusive Shindo video interview. (We've got the Kei Sato footage though, and we can add a full-length audio commentary by Shindo/Sato/Yoshimura). Full details soon.

Here's the cover:

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#10 Post by Pinback » Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:40 pm

peerpee wrote:We've got the Kei Sato footage though, and we can add a full-length audio commentary by Shindo/Sato/Yoshimura
That's fantastic! The footage was fascinating, but with no sound it seemed a little tiresome after a while. Commentary from Shindo will give the footage much more value. Excellent work.

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#11 Post by peerpee » Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:58 pm

Sorry, I wasn't clear - my reference to the commentary is the full-length commentary on the film.

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#12 Post by Pinback » Sun May 01, 2005 12:40 am

peerpee wrote:Sorry, I wasn't clear - my reference to the commentary is the full-length commentary on the film.
Oh. Well, it's still going to be an unmissable release. Now I'm curious...was there ever any thought of getting commentary for that footage?

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#13 Post by Lino » Sun May 01, 2005 1:37 pm

Or any kind of soundtrack music for that matter.

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#14 Post by Anonymous » Mon May 02, 2005 10:48 pm

I don't mind the absence of any kind of soundtrack over the Kei Sato footage. It's probably overkill having a commentary for both the film and the footage. Certainly music or moody ambient sound from the film would either jar or detract - frenetic drumming (for an extreme example) as one of the crew plays with a kitten! It's really just a super souped-up moving production stills gallery - though I'm hoping MoC can do something with the picture quality of it - there's quite a bit of strange ghosting going on with it on my television.

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#15 Post by What A Disgrace » Sat May 07, 2005 12:52 am

Specs are up.

-Newly restored high-definition transfer, anamorphic 2.35:1 OAR
-Full-length director's audio commentary by director Kaneto Shindo and the stars of the film, Kei Sato, and Jitsuko Yoshimura
-Video introduction by Alex Cox
-8mm footage (40-minutes) shot on location by lead actor Kei Sato
-Optional English subtitles (new translation)
-Production stills gallery
-24-page booklet with a new essay by Doug Cummings, and more...

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#16 Post by peerpee » Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:10 pm

This and KURONEKO are wrapped and will be out on time.

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#17 Post by Subbuteo » Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:20 pm

BIG KISS on those old lips of yours :)

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#18 Post by Lino » Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:04 am


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#19 Post by Lino » Thu Aug 25, 2005 3:56 am

DVDtimes review:

http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=58304
Eureka's Masters of Cinema label has scored another hit with this latest r2UK release, combining strong visuals with solid audio and some excellent extra features that hardcore fans of the film will want to revisit over and over again.

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#20 Post by Pinback » Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:28 am

More glowing praise for this release: Sight & Sound's October issue named MoC's Onibaba the DVD of the month.

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Re:

#21 Post by eerik » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:30 am

Blu-ray announced for 25 February 2013

• Gorgeous new 1080p HD transfer
• Full-length director’s audio commentary by director Kaneto Shindō and the stars of the film, Kei Satō, and Jitsuko Yoshimura
• Video introduction by Alex Cox
• 8mm footage (40-minutes) shot on location by lead actor Kei Satō
• Optional English subtitles
• Original theatrical trailer
• Production stills and promotional art gallery
• 36-PAGE BOOKLET with a new essay by Doug Cummings, an English translation of the original short Buddhist fable that inspired the film and a statement from writer/director Kaneto Shindō about why he made Onibaba

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Re: 13 / BD 55 Onibaba

#22 Post by swo17 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:47 am

All of those features were on the original DVD. The only difference I can see (other than the film being in 1080p) is that the booklet is slightly longer, possibly just to accommodate the smaller page size.

Also interestingly (or not), prior to this last post, this thread was the longest any MoC title had gone without an update (more than seven years). In case this is any indication of future Blu-ray upgrades (it isn't), next in line looks like it will be Scandal.

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Re: 13 / BD 55 Onibaba

#23 Post by swo17 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:05 pm

Perhaps this goes without saying but:
MoC Twitter wrote:Old ONIBABA DVD will remain in print.

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Re: 13 / BD 55 Onibaba

#24 Post by manicsounds » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:49 am


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Re: 13 / BD 55 Onibaba

#25 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:06 pm

For some reason I had an inexplicable fear that this release would be lacking in the looks department, falling short of Criterion's Kuroneko, but those caps appear to exceed it. I'm quite excited now.

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