Shohei Imamura on DVD

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kekid
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Shohei Imamura on DVD

#1 Post by kekid » Sat Jan 22, 2005 10:06 pm

Is Shohei Imamura's "The Ballad of Narayama" available on DVD? I recall this once announced in Region1, but disappear without any explanation.
Last edited by kekid on Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Steven H
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The Ballad of Narayama

#2 Post by Steven H » Sat Jan 22, 2005 10:24 pm

Here's the Japanese one. No subtitles. I've been hoping for Criterion to release this one for a while. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy/deal with my VHS. Panorama released subtitled versions of Vengance is Mine and Eijanaka, which are great films, and were both done around the same time (if you're interested (and don't already know)).

It's also great to watch after seeing Kinoshita's film of the same name for the different "versions" of Japan.

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The Ballad of Narayama

#3 Post by kazantzakis » Sat Jan 22, 2005 10:35 pm

IVL HK picked up the rights from TOEI Jp for a dozen or so films. The first couple Fukasakus from this deal are out. Imamura's "Narayama" and "Black Rain" are among those films but no release schedule has been announced yet.

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The Ballad of Narayama

#4 Post by Steven H » Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:07 pm

According to a release schedule scanned on this page from the Asian DVD Guide message board (linked by Dave Cheung in another thread), Ballad of Narayama is coming out on May 5th. I have my fingers crossed about the date and the quality.

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The Ballad of Narayama

#5 Post by Mestes » Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:25 am

kazantzakis wrote:IVL HK picked up the rights from TOEI Jp for a dozen or so films. The first couple Fukasakus from this deal are out. Imamura's "Narayama" and "Black Rain" are among those films but no release schedule has been announced yet.
Steven H wrote:According to a release schedule scanned on this page from the Asian DVD Guide message board (linked by Dave Cheung in another thread), Ballad of Narayama is coming out on May 5th. I have my fingers crossed about the date and the quality.
That is an informative thread: The questions concerning Morita's SOREKARA are answered, as well as new information regarding revisions in the IVL Toei schedule. I was almost ready to sell my DVD of Black Rain in anticipation of the IVL release. Glad I did not.

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Shohei Imamura on DVD

#6 Post by BrightEyes23 » Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:29 am

Besides the obvious MoC's, the Eel and Dr. Akaki, what's available out there there?

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#7 Post by Pinback » Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:01 am

There's the Criterion release of The Pornographers, HVE's Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (also available in the UK from Tartan), and 11'09''01: September 11 is available on Region 1 and 2. There's also an English-subtitled Chinese release of Eijanaika and a long out-of-print R1 release of Black Rain. Good luck getting hold of that one...

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#8 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:04 am

There's ........ a long out-of-print R1 release of Black Rain. Good luck getting hold of that one...

There's a Black Rain on e-bay now!!

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#9 Post by Steven H » Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:34 pm

BrightEyes23 wrote:Besides the obvious MoC's, the Eel and Dr. Akhagi, what's available out there there?
Keep an eye on the Bootleg thread. There are dubbed versions, from laserdisc, of Insect Woman and Ballad of Narayama you can get through some of those sources.

I hope we can expect more from Criterion and Masters of Cinema some time soon. Imamura, along with a few other Japanese New Wave directors, is woefully underrepresented in the world of DVD.

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#10 Post by shirobamba » Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:46 pm

Steven H wrote:Imamura, along with a few other Japanese New Wave directors, is woefully underrepresented in the world of DVD.
Period!

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#11 Post by kazantzakis » Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:48 pm

I think it was IVL HK that announced Ballad of Narayama and Black Rain as upcoming several moths ago. I dont know what the latest is though.

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#12 Post by Steven H » Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:56 pm

kazantzakis wrote:I think it was IVL HK that announced Ballad of Narayama and Black Rain as upcoming several moths ago. I dont know what the latest is though.
Yeah, I think they were supposed to be released this year (here's an earlier thread on this topic) but were not (unless I missed something). Seeing how IVL botched Sorekara (beautiful film, and there's an unsubbed R2 Japanese release of it coming up in the next month, actually) I would be wary of their releases. Might be better off with VHS, or bootlegged laserdiscs, for those two. Sad.

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#13 Post by the dancing kid » Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:08 pm

Netflix carries a version of Vengeance is Mine that has English subs. I don't remember which company made it, but I believe it's one of the few imports they carry. The quality is awful, barely above VHS, and for some reason it's broken up over two discs.

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#14 Post by shirobamba » Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:40 am

The VENGEANCE IS MINE from Panorama is ridiculous. If you have a region-free SA, I strongly recommend to wait for the MoC release of the film in October.

S P E C I A L F E A T U R E S

Newly restored high definition transfer, progressively encoded
Full-length audio commentary by noted critic and filmmaker Tony Rayns
Video introduction by Alex Cox
Optional English subtitles

36-page booklet with a new essay by midnighteye.com's Jasper Sharp, new writing by Dr. Alastair Philips, reprints of original promotional brochures, and a word about the film by Shohei Imamura.

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#15 Post by manicsounds » Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:00 am

Japan's got some great Imamura DVDs, including a restored SE of Black Rain. Unfortunately no English subtitles on any of them

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#16 Post by Pinback » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:12 am

Looks like IVL is finally putting out The Ballad of Narayama on DVD. Twitchfilm.net is reporting a release date of October 13th.
Twitch wrote:Ballad of Narayama by Shohei Imamura (1982). R3 HK DVD October 13th 2005.

When the license by IVL in Hong Kong of Toei movie began a while back, I was hoping (and partly fearing) a deluge of titles. More of a trickle in the end, unfortunately. Still, we will finally get to see a nice Imamura movie on DVD in October - lets hope for a bigger slew of titles in the future (especially Imamuras Black Rain which has been promised : yes, there's a French disc with English Subtitles out there already...), in the shape of the Grand Prix winner from Cannes (1982).

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#17 Post by shirobamba » Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:25 am

yes, there's a French disc with English Subtitles out there already...), in the shape of the Grand Prix winner from Cannes (1982).
The French release of Narayama has NO English, but French subs only!
I think the writer was talking about the dvd of BLACK RAIN not NARAYAMA.
Makes no difference. For there are contradictory informations, if the French DVD of "Pluie Noire/Black Rain" carries English subs:

Engl. subs: NO

Engl. subs: YES

Is there any board member, who owns the French DVD to shed light on this?

If so, could you report about the p/q as well?

TIA

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#18 Post by artfilmfan » Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:50 pm


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The Ballad of Narayama

#19 Post by kekid » Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:10 pm

Shohei Imamura's "Ballad of Narayama" is available on DVD from "YesAsia.com". The transfer is anamorphic, and looks quite nice. I cannot compare it to the theatrical release or any prior version because this is the only version I have seen. The film itself is one of Imamura's best. With "Vengeance is Mine" released by Eureka MoC, this is the Imamura week to celebrate.

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#20 Post by shirobamba » Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:58 pm

Gordon McMurphy wrote:Which other Imamura films are worth seeing?
All of his early films from "Second Brother" onwards.

Hogs and Battleships (is a post-war tragic-comedy with surreal streaks)
Insect Woman (one of his main masterpieces about the "nature" of Japanese women - some kind of anti-Ozu POV)
Unholy Desire aka Intentions of Murder (dito)
The Pornographers (released by Criterion)
A Man Vanishes (complex essayistic pseudo-documentary that turns into fiction at the end)
Profound Desires of the Gods (another experimental feature masterpiece, which went terribly over budget and failed at the boxoffice, interrupting Imamura's career for ten years.)

Except for "The Pornographers" at the present time, all of these are only available as boots, or unsubbed Japanese DVDs. :cry:

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#21 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:53 pm

"Second Brother" is visually a treat -- but story-wise a mess.

"Pigs and Battleships", "Insect Woman" and "Intentions of Murder" are three of the best films of the 60s. I wasn't as enthralled by "Pornographers" (but did find it interesting). I still have yet to see "Man Vanishes" and "Profound Desires". ;~{

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#22 Post by shirobamba » Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:40 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:"Second Brother" is visually a treat -- but story-wise a mess. ;~{
Agreed, Michael. Imamura hasn´t found his mature style yet in "Second Brother". It´s dead serious, and over the top melodramatic (compared to Imamuara´s later laconic tone), and most important: it lacks irony, which spoils his quasi-documentary approach.

I always felt, that I. is a documentary film-maker from the core of of his heart. He´s a director in search of "reality". Thus his storylines are always episodic, his style elliptic. I think, in fact, he´s not very much interested in telling a story, but showing life, as he experiences it. I think, that I. would agree with Wim Wenders, who once said:" Life isn´t unfolding in neat stories, with beginning, middle and end". And as life itself has no conclusion, I., too, leaves "the moral" almost entirely to the viewer. He never judges his characters. As life is unfolding in a chaotic way, His frames are crammed with multilayered, chaotic details, that seem to explode his screens, thus hinting to the fact, that nobody is able to get "the whole picture", that "reality" can´t be "framed". His style is intrinsicly self-reflexive, an attitude he shares with most, if not all "New Wave" directors, and which very much separates him from the classic directors.

It would be an interesting task, to compare his 60´s work to some works of Mizoguchi (f.e. Street of Shame & Sisters of Gion), for they share some major themes and interests, most notably: the role of women in Japanese society, though they arrive at opposite conclusions about "the nature of Japanese women". BTW: one of Richie´s best essays deals with Imamura: "Notes for a Study on S.I." (reprinted in James Quandt´s very useful essay collection "S.I.".

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#23 Post by forweg » Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:46 pm

shirobamba wrote:Is there any board member, who owns the French DVD to shed light on this?

If so, could you report about the p/q as well?
Sorry for bumping this rather old topic, but I'm wondering about the exact same thing, and there's no info at all elsewhere.

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#24 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:21 pm

Black Rain has English subs.

Narayama does not.

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#25 Post by forweg » Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:49 am

Thanks, Michael. Could you please comment on the video and subtitle quality of Black Rain?

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