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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara

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Over the course of his varied career, Koreyoshi Kurahara made exacting noirs, jazzy juvenile delinquency pictures, and even nature films. His free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the spirit of the 1960s; he was one of the biggest hit makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studio during the radical Japanese New Wave. The five films collected here hail from that era, and encompass breathless teen escapades, cruel crime stories, a Mishima adaptation, and even a Hollywood-inspired romantic comedy.

Collector’s set includes

Intimidation

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Koreyoshi Kurahara’s ingeniously plotted, pocket-sized noir concerns the intertwining fates of a desperate bank manager, blackmailed for book-cooking, and his resentful but timid underling, passed over for a promotion. Elegantly stripped-down and carefully paced, Intimidation (Aru kyouhaku) is a moody early film from one of the Japanese New Wave’s preeminent stylists.

The Warped Ones

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A juvenile delinquent gets out of the pen and immediately embarks on a rampage of misdirected anger, most of it unleashed on an unsuspecting young woman. Shot through with the same kind of bebop bravado that Godard was experimenting with half a world away, the anarchic descent into amoral madness that is The Warped Ones (Kyonetsu no kisetsu) sounded a lost generation’s cry for help and kicked off Japan’s cinematic sixties with a bang.

I Hate But Love

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Inspired by Preston Sturges’s Sullivan’s Travels, I Hate But Love (Nikui anchikusho) is a high-octane romantic comedy and road movie that follows a celebrity dissatisfied with his personal and professional life who impulsively leaves Tokyo to deliver a much-needed Jeep to a remote village. When his controlling girlfriend (also his career manager) follows, the two must reconcile while dodging reporters.

Black Sun

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You’ve probably never seen anything quite like this manic, oddball, anti–buddy picture about a young, jazz-obsessed Japanese drifter and a black American GI on the lam in Tokyo. The two outsiders become outlaws, and Kurahara depicts their growing bond as an increasingly absurd culture clash. Black Sun (Kuroi taiyo) features original music by American jazz drummer Max Roach.

Thirst for Love

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Kurahara adapted a novel by Yukio Mishima for Thirst for Love (Ai no kawaki), a tense psychological drama about a young woman who is widowed after marrying into a wealthy family, and becomes sexually involved with her father-in-law while harboring a destructive obsession with the family gardener. Kurahara’s atmospheric style is a perfect match for Mishima’s brooding sensuality.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:30 pm 
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I've never even heard of this guy before (something I thought I had killed off awhile ago in regards to the Japanese New Wave) so colour me highly interested.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:35 pm 
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He directed I Am Waiting, which can be found in the Nikkatsu Noir set.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:37 pm 
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I have the Japanese DVDs of Thirst for Love and I Hate But Love (AKA That Despicable Guy) and they're both really really good films (and the image quality is gorgeous). Thirst For Love is very interesting (the "Mishima" question invades the mind while watching), visually stunning, and odd enough to get Kurahara fired, I think (his Branded to Kill). I haven't seen Intimidation or Black Sun, but I have the feeling that Thirst For Love will be the highlight of the set for a lot of people.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:43 pm 
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I just can't wait to watch The Warped Ones.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:47 pm 
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med wrote:
He directed I Am Waiting, which can be found in the Nikkatsu Noir set.
So I guess I am familiar with him than. That was probably my favorite from the set so I am extra ecstatic to see what this set has in store now.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 8:02 pm 
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Very exciting announcement. Eclipse is really pulling out some nice surprises this year.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 4:33 am 
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Eclipse #28: so far 10 of the 28 have been sets of Japanese films, over one third, must be performing well... No other national cinema is represented in any way as strongly...


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 5:46 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:42 pm
I've only seen The Warped Ones, but it's pretty amazing. It's a post-Godard troubled teen movie, sort of in between Crazed Fruit and Funeral Parade of Roses. I actually saw it as "The Weird Love Makers" via a VHS from Something Weird, and it was released theatrically (in the U.S.) via Radley Metzger's Audubon Films.

So, very much looking forward to this set.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 11:13 am 

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I really liked I Am Waiting, and these descriptions sound very enticing. This might be my first blind buy in a long time.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:25 pm 
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ellipsis7 wrote:
Eclipse #28: so far 10 of the 28 have been sets of Japanese films, over one third, must be performing well... No other national cinema is represented in any way as strongly...

Better than that, the 45 japanese films on eclipse represent forty percent of the 112 films on eclipse.

the sad part is that I'm really most anxious for more Shimizu, Ozu, Naruse, Mizoguchi, etc etc. I'd love for them to finish off Ozu the way they finished off Kurasawa. :) But at a rate of two japanese eclipse releases a year it's going to take a LONG time...


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:46 pm 

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More Japanese, please.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:04 pm 
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ellipsis7 wrote:
Eclipse #28: so far 10 of the 28 have been sets of Japanese films, over one third, must be performing well... No other national cinema is represented in any way as strongly...

One of the rumors (I think one I read on these forums) about why the Eclipse line is what it is and not what it was originally conceived is that the Japanese companies were getting impatient and these no-frills box sets are an easy way to get their films out.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:13 pm 
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ellipsis7 wrote:
Eclipse #28: so far 10 of the 28 have been sets of Japanese films, over one third, must be performing well... No other national cinema is represented in any way as strongly...

Well it is the land of the setting sun.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 11:30 pm 

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All the Japanese Eclipse sets have been fantastic. I see no reason not to pick this up blind.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:45 am 
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What an excellent selection - I'm very excited for this release!


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 2:23 am 
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Really excited about this one and I will definitely buy it. I have seen all but Thirst for Love. I caught the others in this set at the 2008 Tokyo Filmex retrospective which showed 12 of Kurahara's films. My least favorite was I Hate But Love, which was just another vehicle to showcase Yujiro Ishihara. I would have preferred if this set instead included another earlier Kurahara film such as The Third Dead Angle, The Road to Hell or even The Woman From the Sea . The last one especially would have fit better given the title of this set. It is about a young man who becomes infatuated with a beautiful young woman who can transform herself into a shark, in which guise she terrorizes the fishing village where the young man lives.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:32 am 
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dvdbeaver


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:06 am 
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HTF


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:46 pm 
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And Mondo Digital's review


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:44 pm 
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Just finished watching the set tonight. Have to say that BLACK SUN is the stand out (I'd love to check out WOMAN FROM THE SEA; that sounds absolutely nuts), though INTIMIDATION is more in my wheelhouse (tersely plotted, mean-spirited little noir) Too tired to elaborate but I'm cooking up a review that will be posted by the Tuesday release date. This is a fantastic set and, much like the Matarazzo set, a gateway drug to a filmmaker formerly unknown to me. Worth blind-buying, for sure.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:27 pm 
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Here's a little piece I wrote on the set to supplement my review for GreenCine.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:39 pm 

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Nice read. I've been procrastinating on getting this because of some of the tepid reviews online so far, but these films do sound as kinetic as I was expecting from this set after all. Maybe critics are just in a more conservative mood of late.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:58 pm 
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Yeah, I've been surprised how dismissive many critics have been. Maybe I dug the films so much because I'm not as well-versed (and, therefore, jaded) with Japanese New Wave cinema. Or maybe I dug them because they're awesome.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:50 pm 
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Broken record at the moment, but once again Eclipse proves itself to be the real main line. I've only cracked this open with I Hate But Love, but already it's more than worth what I got for it. It's fascinating in a lot of ways, but I suppose I should mention how it is not it's sources. The character at the center of the film is similar enough to Sullivan, but the journey he takes and what for is drastically different. I like how the linear notes bring up A Face in the Crowd in this respect since the film might have more in common with that one. So it eventually morphs into this wonderful tale of self destructive for a concept that I don't think he entirely is sure he believes in.

This is one of those cases where I suspect the subtleties of the Japanese language adds a lot to the movie that simply can't be conveyed via the subtitles. It's not that I felt lost or anything like that, but the emphasis on concepts through words, especially ones as complex as relationship ideas, just leaves that too open. Of course even if I was lost I think I would have been glad to see this Broadcast News relationship play out total surface layer. The direction, script, and of course performances are just phenomenal. While Ishihara only on occasion is allowed to show off the ferocity that made I Am Waiting so exhilarating it's at least as good a performance. It's a really internal performance that physically is loud, but comes across as quiet because his eyes are always rolled down as if his mind and body are separate, apart from the eyes. Again what I mean to say is that his thoughtfulness makes small his gestures and voice. He adds a layer that he can't show because of the character his character plays. It's like he always has to be Hurt crying, but he wonders how much of that is real.

Flipside of the coin shows new to me Asaoka being just as complex, but in a totally different way, which she sort of has to be considering where her character is. In many senses the part is much more showoffy with her character's main conflict being a more typical one and also more directly expressive, but by that same token it is way more susceptible to bad overacting which she thankfully doesn't do. Her character is like a fish swimming toward the bear thinking it's just an other part of the stream and she communicates that just perfectly. Even though she's in such desperate need for reassessment it's nice to just watch her be the boss. It's a plain character arc, but one that's made fun to watch all the same just due to the energy of the performance.

Of course this wouldn't be '60s Nikkatsu without some insane camerawork and Kurahara does it insanely well. He throws out the noir realist style for something closer to Tashlin or Godard at his cartooniest with some of the best usage of natural colour I've seen. Maybe that last point is just the garishness of the '60s speaking, but it seems that the production design and costume is relatively down to earth even if it gives off a neon vibe. Than again that might just be the camera work which whips around, jumps, and even smacks throughout which gives even the scenes that on paper should be quiet or sentimental this elastic vibration and hyperactivity that ran me out of breath. Can't wait to get to the rest.


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