Carlotta: Coffrets Kenji Mizoguchi

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Michael Kerpan
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#76 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:01 am

davidhare wrote:MIchael as you are prefectly well aware I personally mislabelled Naniwa Eleji as Naniwa Onna.

I have totally no skills in Kanji transliteration! And , as you are well aware the fucking amazon.fr site initially advertised this title as Naniwa Onna.

So goofups bigtime are entirely mine.
If Amazon France misidentified it -- how is the goof-up yours? I'd put all the blame on them....

;~}

("Onna" is one kanji character I _do_ recognize -- though it can be "pronounced" in many different ways. I wouldn't ever recognize "ereji" -- without a dictionary).

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david hare
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#77 Post by david hare » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:20 pm

"Ereji" looks to my completely uneducated eye as a foreign borrowing of "Elegy".

More importantly I arrived at work to find the coffret on my desk - this is a new record for speedy airmail from France.

Osen looks absolutely terrific! All three titles are prefaced with a disclaimer that the new HD master datacine has been taken from available 16mm elements from Japan, with the usual grovelling about damage, etc. This is a beauty however, and flipping through it looks incredibly exciting formally. Mizo's camera movements are positively vertiginous! The movie has a minimal soundtrack (which like the other two appears post synched or even perhpas from a synched disc) with intertitles followed by overdubbed speech. This one title has been lavished on a single DL disc despite which the transfer displays two minor flaws - it looks a little speeded (a couple of frames per second), and the compression/encode has not quite enitrely coped with frame movement, allowing a certain amount of blocking artefacts - but the caveat is that I was watching on pretty second rate monitor and player at work. Extras include a Pascal Vincent intro (as do the other two titles), a discussion of the Benshi practice with these movies, and a short scene with an actor giving a Benshi accompaniment. A glorious disc!

Oyuki and Poppy are in much rougher shape, sharing disc 2 of the set although despite the surface damage the image is perfectly clear in both movies. Given what we have left of Mizo I think these will be satisfactory for those of us who've been collecting what we can of the director's work. Disc also includes further Vincent intros, plus an appreciation of the glorious Yamada Isuzu. Glancing briefly there's a clip from Straits of Love and Hate which gives me hope this title may also see the light of day, as well as the already announced Sisters of the Gion. Regarding Oyuki I take Michael Kerpan's reference to Stagecoach - of course as Vincent points out in the intro the narrative was adapted from Boule de Suif.

I will post caps tonight on that thread.

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#78 Post by ptmd » Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:45 pm

Glancing briefly there's a clip from Straits of Love and Hate which gives me hope this title may also see the light of day
This has actually been released on a DVD with a surprisingly good transfer in Japan. It shouldn't be too hard to port it over, but, on the other hand, I would think that if they had plans to do so they would have included it in the 30s box (since it's probably too obscure to sell well on its own). Maybe Criterion will try to license it for their Eclipse set.

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#79 Post by david hare » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:00 am

Michael K mentioned the Jap DVD earlier, and this may well be ported. (EDIT: My bad he mentioned a Jap DVD of Osen.)

My impression is Carlotta regard this is the "major" title, hence its own disc, DL transfer etc, and of course the good clean high quality image, contra the other two titles which are not better (or less) known but in far worse shape.

I am hoping they reissue Soeurs de Gion in another 30s box with Straits of Love and Hate!!

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#80 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:42 am

I think the Japanese DVD of Aienkyo (Straits of Love and Hate) is positively abysmal. I have been told that a much better print exist in (a European?) archive.

The film itself is intriguing -- it features a heroine who (ultimately) decides she's had enough of self-sacrifice to male pusillanimity. ;~}

ptmd
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#81 Post by ptmd » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:16 am

I think the Japanese DVD of Aienkyo (Straits of Love and Hate) is positively abysmal. I have been told that a much better print exist in (a European?) archive.
It's not in great shape, but it's surprisingly good given the rarity and condition of the film. My understanding is that there is only one unsubtitled print of Aienkyo in existence at this point, and it's the Japanese one used for the DVD. That print is normally kept under lock and key at the National Film Center in Tokyo (for obvious reasons), so just being able to see the film at all is quite something, which is perhaps why I'm more forgiving of the video quality.

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#82 Post by david hare » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:33 pm

Amazon just posted Soeurs de Gion last nite (included with a Fr. Warner Hawks Ceiling Zero) so it was worth the wait. Should have this next week to spring grabs.

EDIT: Arrived this morning and viewed at work. It is a blast to see this again, after such a very long gap of thrity years. Could it be his most Hollywood inspired movie, stylistically? The long tracks and pans all seem to be graced by almost luxuriantly layered decor, and the light and shade is as Sternbergian as Gremillon's hommage in Gueule d'Amour. No introductory caveats from Carlotta apologizing for poor quality elements.The source looks like very good, second gen 35mm - there is a little popping on opticals, and slight frame judder but a very clean image with nice contrast. Very clear and simple French subs and a couple of minor extras - an intro from now Resident Carlotta Mizophile Pascal Vincent, a 15 minute analysis (mostly talking heads) from Charles Tesson called Un Film d'Appressintage although I don't really buy the sentiment of this title as the movie, like Osaka Elegy seems to me very much fully formed Mizo. And a 52 minute doc by Antoine Lassaigne (these things are all copyrighted to Allerton Films of course) called Geishas de Gion, l'art de paraitre which purports to examine Mizo's prediliction for the Geisha and the old Kyoto Quartier.

Caps tonite!

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