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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Japanese PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Original theatrical trailer

The Makioka Sisters

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Kon Ichikawa
Starring: Keiko Kishi, Yoshiko Sakuma, Sayuri Yoshinaga, Yuko Kotegawa
1983 | 140 Minutes | Licensor: Toho Co.

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #567
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: June 14, 2011
Review Date: June 13, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

This lyrical adaptation of the beloved novel by Junichiro Tanizaki was a late-career triumph for director Kon Ichikawa. Structured around the changing of the seasons, The Makioka Sisters (Sasame-yuki) follows the lives of four siblings who have taken on their family's kimono manufacturing business, in the years leading up to the Pacific War. The two oldest have been married for some time, but according to tradition, the rebellious youngest sister cannot wed until the third, conservative and terribly shy, finds a husband. This graceful study of a family at a turning point in history is a poignant evocation of changing times and fading customs, shot in rich, vivid colors.

Forum members rate this film 7.3/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Kon Ichikawaís The Makioka Sisters comes to Criterion on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc with a new 1080p/24hz high-definition digital transfer in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

Thereís an inherent softness to the overall image but itís generally pleasing. Although there can be a bit of a washed over look to the film colours are possibly the presentationís best feature, best displayed in the kimonos on display along with the plant life and some of the lighting. Black levels are adequate but really come off as more of a very dark gray than a pure black.

Since the film just about takes up the whole disc (of the 50GB of available space, give or take, the film takes up about 41GB) I wasnít too surprised to see that there wasnít much in the way of problems in the actual digital transfer. There is a slight softness to the picture but I feel it is a condition of the materials used or a product of the shoot. Though things may not come off super crisp and clear thereís still a wonderful amount of detail present in the many settings and some of the clothing worn. Film grain is present but looks natural throughout, and I couldnít detect artifacts of any sort.

Admittedly I wasnít blown away by what we get but itís still a fairly gorgeous looking presentation.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The lossless linear PCM mono track, in Japanese of course, works well but never excels above average. Dialogue is clear but lacks much depth, coming off flat and dull, while the filmís (rather horrendous, in my opinion) electronic score has a bit more range to it but not much, and it can sound a little edgy and harsh in places. In the end itís a product of the time but is sufficient for the film.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Other than a short theatrical trailer and a booklet with a nice essay on the film by Audie Bock Criterion has included nothing in the way of supplements. This is the first basically barebones edition Criterion has released on Blu-ray and, not counting their Eclipse and Essential Art House titles, the first theyíve released overall in a very long time, since their 2006 individual editions of their Louis Malle films (Au revoir les enfants, Murmur of the Heart, and Lacombe Lucien, but these were also available in a box set that contained special features). Thankfully itís priced accordingly, at a lower $29.95, but even if thatís admittedly still a little steep it keeps in line with their DVDs from years ago.

1/10

CLOSING

Itís disappointing that no major features were included, like maybe more on the source novel and the adaptation (Bockís essay does provide some minor details about this) but Iím glad Criterion went ahead and put this out on Blu-ray without simply just pushing it out in one of their other lines only on DVD. Because of this we get a rather lovely presentation, the film benefitting from the format.


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