BFI: 32 Ozu Films

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zedz
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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#751 Post by zedz » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:49 pm

I can find it on Amazon (searching for "good morning ozu") but it's listed as 'currently unavailable'. I can't imagine the rights have lapsed for that single title and not for all the others, so I'm guessing it's just between printings. Which would be good news.

EDIT: Actually, complete lack of availability from any third party sellers is pretty odd, since there are still plenty of marketplace sellers offering the OOP Tartan set that includes the film.

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swo17
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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#752 Post by swo17 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:04 am

Yes, they evidently have two ASINs set up for it, and the only one that comes up in a search is the one where no one has it listed.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#753 Post by manicsounds » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:35 pm


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AidanKing
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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#754 Post by AidanKing » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:42 am

As there haven't been any more Ozu releases announced yet this year, I wonder if the project may have come to a premature end? I sincerely hope not.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#755 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:29 pm

I'm probably being naive hoping this delay has something to do with them waiting for better materials for some of the bigger ones left. I believe A Story of Floating Weeds is available in HD from Criterion, but there's also The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice and Record of a Tenement Gentleman. It'd be nice to get at least one of them on Blu-ray. How about A Story of Floating Weeds (HD) and Record of a Tenement Gentleman (SD), and then The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice (HD) with An Inn in Tokyo (SD)? After that there would only be Tokyo Chorus and Passing Fancy which will presumably be in SD and can go together in another 2-disc multi-title release, with Kagami jishi and Fighting Friends Japanese Style as supplements.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#756 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:28 am

AidanKing wrote:As there haven't been any more Ozu releases announced yet this year, I wonder if the project may have come to a premature end? I sincerely hope not.
I emailed the BFI recently and they have confirmed that they still intend to release the remaining 6 features they have, though none are scheduled at the moment.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#757 Post by Drucker » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:33 pm

So I watched my first Ozu silent the other day, the revered I Was Born, But... and came away a bit disappointed. While the last portion of the film was indeed strong, I found the majority of the film a bit weak. Maybe the film was too fast for technical reasons (missing frames, faster than usual frame rate for silent? Should this be slower?)

That isn't to say it was a bad film, but for me, what I've come to love about Ozu was just a bit off, here. There were shots of landscapes, but generally one at a time. The eerie sound of silence or just the sound of the environment doesn't exist in these silent films. The Ozu shooting angles really aren't quite in use yet. Furthermore, there's so much to love about Ozu's dialogue in the way the characters deliver the words. In Early Summer you have the magnificent scene of the four girlfriends at dinner and two of them speaking in unison to make fun of the other one. In Good Morning, in the early scene where a woman is told her bill wasn't paid, her slow facial expressions and vocal delivery are fantastic. That just doesn't translate at all for Ozu, and not really surprising for a director whose greatest works feature so much dialogue.

I find I love watching Ozu films after a busy day where I want to unwind. They are paced beautifully and have the simplest story, yet I can really pay attention to it. Michael Kerpan and others, what are your feelings on his silents? I'm more than content relegating myself to sound-era only Ozu, but would love to be persuaded to give another film a shot.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#758 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:23 pm

I think it's a wonderful film, but it's also one of his most linear and didactic, and not really a fair representation of his (constantly changing) silent style as a result. I'd try Passing Fancy, The Lady and the Beard, or Tokyo Chorus next, but the full effects of Ozu's work are cumulative, and are most vividly experienced through a sustained appreciation of each of the films in relation to the others, so my best advice is to just keep watching. If you love his later work, you will find things to appreciate in his silents. It just might take some time and patience. I don't know of anyone who loves late Ozu but has been unable to enjoy the silents after sticking with them. If anything, the opposite scenario is more common; many love the constant experimentation and more directly socially conscious silents but struggle with the more honed formalism of the later films.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#759 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:40 pm

In some ways I prefer the Ozu silents _silent_. There is so much implied sound, music and even dialog. Granted, these films originally had not only music, but narration -- but I find the original style of "accompaniment" ultimately unsatisfying in the case of Ozu's early films (even if interesting now and then as a novelty). By and large, I do not find any modern musical accompaniment to add much, at best, it is unassuming enough to neither detract nor distract.

Ozu's early films do have a different rhythm from his later ones -- and it may take a little effort to readjust one's perception. I don't think that there is anything wrong with the speed of IWBB as preserved on DVD, so that is probably not the answer to your unease or dissatisfaction.

Unfortunately the best (and last) of the (surviving) pre-talkies (Tokyo Inn) is not available on DVD -- and not slated for release either in the US or the UK in the immediate future. This might provide more of a bridge -- which would allow working back further, bit by bit. The divide between this and "The Only Son" is not at all wide (despite the spoken dialog in the latter film). In the absence of Tokyo Inn, I think a comparative viewing of Story of Floating Weeds and Floating Weeds might be helpful. While the later film is really quite fine, the earlier one strikes me as even more moving -- while being equally beautiful (albeit in a more restrained fashion).

One of the joys of the early Ozu films is his first repertory company, which was every bit as talented as his later one (from Late Spring on), of which only Chishu Ryu was a holdover (though he was mostly a supporting character or even just a bit player until late in this period).

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#760 Post by Drucker » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:47 pm

I hate to badmouth, but I couldn't stand the score on the disc (BFI second-disc of Good Morning release) so I turned it off. Will definitely check out A Story of Floating Weeds next.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#761 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:50 pm

Michael, Tokyo Inn is one of the remaining 6 Shochiku films the BFI have the rights to, and as my last post confirms, they still plan to put them out at some point.

Drucker, I'm with you on the score for this film. All of the BFI ones are terrible.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#762 Post by Drucker » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:55 pm

I feel like so many new silent film scores come with this kind of generic, rolling-piano vibe type composition that actually would have been quite nice for this release. Really didn't understand the need/use of somber strings.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#763 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:06 pm

EL: I know that BFI plans to release the last 6 Ozu films it has licensed "eventually" -- but was just indicating that I have no reason to believe that such release is imminent. (What are the other 5? Green Tea, SoFW, ???)

I haven't really liked any of the Ozu silent scores provided by anyone so far. However, I think I found the accompaniment to Story of Floating Weeds most "distracting." I often put on non-distracting music of my own choosing if I don't wnat to cope with total silence when watching these films.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#764 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:21 pm

I see. The BFI's correspondence with me indicated they were having trouble deciding how best to package them together, as individual releases at this stage is apparently out of the question, and that they are still investigating where they can get the best materials for them from.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#765 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:27 pm

Story of Floating Weeds is in good enough shape to warrant Blu-Ray treatment, not sure about Green Tea and Tenement Gentleman, as most sources seem a bit dicey. Tokyo Inn is in quite poor condition, so definitely no Blu for this, I'd think) What else is left?

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#766 Post by liam fennell » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:32 pm

I totally got wayyyy into watching silents "silent" after first digging into all these wonderful Ozu things a few years ago. I never watch any silent movie with a modern score turned on now, although I do sample them out of curiosity. Once I got used to the silence, I really came to enjoy the experience. It helped me learn to really look more, to see better. Almost all silents benefit, in a weird way, even though it is so unnatural. I find that the comedies especially become so much more fun without those goofball effects synced to the pratfalls.

Also, I prefer the more playful silent Ozu pictures to the later mature things, although it is all peerless, really! And the early stock company really is fabulous, I agree. It never fails to amaze me how he was seemingly effortlessly cranking these things out in the '30s!

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#767 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:33 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Story of Floating Weeds is in good enough shape to warrant Blu-Ray treatment, not sure about Green Tea and Tenement Gentleman, as most sources seem a bit dicey. Tokyo Inn is in quite poor condition, so definitely no Blu for this, I'd think) What else is left?
They've released 25 (24 features and A Straightforward Boy) from a total of 32 licensed. They have 6 features left (Tokyo Chorus, Passing Fancy, A Story of Floating Weeds, An Inn in Tokyo, Record of a Tenement Gentleman, The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice) and I assume the short documentary Kagami jishi is number 32 (does it survive intact?).

The other surviving Ozu films are The Munekata Sisters, Floating Weeds, The End of Summer. Doesn't look like anyone is interested in Munekata Sisters and I guess I'm just going to have to buy Eclipse 3 for The End of Summer.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#768 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:38 pm

Kagamijishi seems to exist in complete form -- nothing seems obviously missing on the Shochiku DVD version. Everything except Green Tea and Kagamijishi would seem amenable to release as a set...

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#769 Post by zedz » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:44 pm

EddieLarkin wrote:They've released 25 (24 features and A Straightforward Boy) from a total of 32 licensed. They have 6 features left (Tokyo Chorus, Passing Fancy, A Story of Floating Weeds, An Inn in Tokyo, Record of a Tenement Gentleman, The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice) and I assume the short documentary Kagami jishi is number 32 (does it survive intact?).
I can't think of any solid thematic lines around which all of these could be organized (though the two 'Kihachi' films, Passing Fancy and An Inn in Tokyo, belong together), but if they go back to the 'headlining sound film' plus bonus silents model, they could stick A Story of Floating Weeds and Tokyo Chorus (and the short) on the back of Green Tea over Rice (which I'm pretty sure survives nicely enough to sustain a BluRay, so that and Floating Weeds at least could be in HD), then match up Tenement Gentlemen with the Kihachi films as a 'lower depths' collection. The available materials might not support HD for that set, but SD would be fine by me!

Alternative arrangement: the two sound films paired (HD / SD, if necessary), with the short tossed in as a bonus; the four silent features as a 'Four Silent Masterpieces' or whatever twofer, with the possibility of HD for Floating Weeds and any of the other films that warrant it.

I wonder if the BFI is waiting to see what transfer upgrades Criterion might be facilitating? The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice is the logical next Ozu release for them as well, and it would make sense for the two companies to piggypack.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#770 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:54 pm

The BFI went to Criterion for many of their HD Ozu masters, and the master Criterion used for A Story of Floating Weeds on the DVD was a HD one, so I'm hoping that one on Blu-ray is a given. I think it's possible the hold up is down to them not wanting to put one or both of the sound films out in SD from very dated masters, so maybe they are indeed just waiting for Criterion or Shochiku to make the next move.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#771 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:21 pm

I've never seen a version of Green Tea that looked nearly as good as Tokyo Story -- Story of Floating Weeds seems to look much better than Green Tea. Then again, Ikiru, from around the same time also looks especially bad compared to most of the other Kurosawa films of that period.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#772 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:39 am

The BFI has asked me to urge people asking for replacement discs for An Autumn Afternoon to check the bitrate first - because it was withdrawn and replaced very quickly some three and a half years ago, so unless you were one of the very first purchasers the chances are that you've already got the corrected disc.

Stocks of spare discs are now almost exhausted, and while they're happy to send them out to people who genuinely need them, there have apparently been quite a few requests from people who already had the corrected disc. If you check the bitrate on your player and it's in the low teens, you've got the earlier pressing - but if it's significantly higher, you already have the replacement disc and need take no further action.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#773 Post by longstone » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:55 am

I don't suppose there is any news of them finally releasing the missing titles from the 32 ?

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#774 Post by JimmyTango » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:35 am

Does anyone know if Ozu's 1936 short film "Kagamijishi" is available on DVD or Blu-ray? I cant find it anywhere.

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Re: BFI: 32 Ozu Films

#775 Post by manicsounds » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:21 am

JimmyTango wrote:Does anyone know if Ozu's 1936 short film "Kagamijishi" is available on DVD or Blu-ray? I cant find it anywhere.
It's in the Japanese Volume V boxset, listed under 1935 as the release date.

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