Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#26 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:59 am

I would say that Naruse never made a film that was _better_ than Apart From You or Every Night Dreams. Just as Ozu's I Was Born But has equal value to any of his later masterpieces. He was still experimenting at this point -- and one will have to get used to his peculiar rapid pseudo-zooming in an out (actually done by dollying), a stylistic quirk that aggravated his studio boss at Shochiku -- and which he carried over into some of his earliest films at Toho.

Apart From You is interesting in that it focuses primarily (albeit not exclusively) on two teen-aged characters (the male lead is a bit too old,for the part but one can learn to ignore this, while the young female lead is actually playing her own age -- about 16).

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#27 Post by sjostrom » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:32 am

Does anybody know if this will be a Region 1 release or (hopefully!) a Region 0 one? I don't trust amazon technical descriptions...

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tojoed
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#28 Post by tojoed » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:54 pm

sjostrom wrote:Does anybody know if this will be a Region 1 release or (hopefully!) a Region 0 one? I don't trust amazon technical descriptions...
All the Eclipse sets that I have are Region 1.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#29 Post by perkizitore » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:23 pm

Why do people keep asking what Region a DVD is? If you don't own a region free DVD player (not only many players can be unlocked, but reliable new players cost less than $50), then you are at the wrong forum.

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Matt
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#30 Post by Matt » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:45 pm

Relax, man. He may be region locked and just not interested in spending money on another player. Not everyone enjoys blowing money on electronics. Also, not everyone is buying just for themselves. They may be buying for a region-locked friend or relative or for a school or library.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#31 Post by perkizitore » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:39 pm

If you love films that much to actively seek foreign gems on internet forums, i am sure you can afford to spend $50 on a player, which is less than the cost of 2 Criterions!

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Doctor Sunshine
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#32 Post by Doctor Sunshine » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:18 pm

Matt's right. Relaxing would be optimal.

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tojoed
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#33 Post by tojoed » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:39 am

Passing over Perky's outburst, I think Criterion used to release region-free discs a few years ago, but haven't done for some time.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#34 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:40 am

Amazon reports that this release has been delayed until April (via e-mail apologizing for delay in our order).

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ola t
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#35 Post by ola t » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:30 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:Amazon reports that this release has been delayed until April
AxelMusic shipped my copy today.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#36 Post by Jack Phillips » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:41 pm

Something weird is going on with Amazon's supply chain. They keep giving new dates for Topsy-Turvy, also, but I'm pretty sure Criterion has not changed their release schedule.

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htdm
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#37 Post by htdm » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:16 pm

Got a message Tuesday last that my copy shipped from DD.

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headacheboy
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#38 Post by headacheboy » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:39 pm

It's certainly in stock at Criterion, I'm unsure what's happening at amazon (although they did inform me that Topsy Turvy is being delivered on 29 March as originally planned).

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#39 Post by Yojimbo » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:11 pm

Just received this set today, in unusually flimsy packaging from the new (improved?) Deep Discount.

I've loved every Naruse I've seen, albeit that I thought 'Floating Clouds' fell just below the other films in the BFI and 'Masters of Cinema' set and I've been eagerly looking forward to watching this set ever since its release was. As of now I'd rank Naruse ahead of Ozu in the pantheon of great Japanese, even World, directors.

That might be because of my disappointment with 'Equinox Flower' and a certain feeling of sameness about too many Ozu films but I'm hoping these films will make the initial assessment an unqualified one

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Finch
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#40 Post by Finch » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:34 pm

I got my set as well but have too many work commitment to delve into it this week. Hopefully I'll find time this weekend though.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#41 Post by knives » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:09 pm

Might watch Flunky during dinner. Have a ton of work to do at the same time though. I couldn't be more excited though.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#42 Post by knives » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:07 pm

Flunky, Work Hard is unlike anything I expected it to be. The film is very clearly Naruse, but also extraordinarily different from his other films I've seen even Wife! Be Like a Rose made a few years later. It's much more strongly a comedy and stylistically is actually further away from Ozu than the later stuff despite reputation to the contrary.

The structure of the film is entertaining and sly, the movie begins very slapsticky and ever so gradually runs into drama. what at first seems like an average run into lovable loser territory ends on such a sad note that I'd be surprised if somebody doesn't mention crying in this thread. It's also in this drama section that Naruse gets his most deliberately arty as several sequences use German expressionist techniques and even a few experimental techniques. This builds to a finale that while happy I suppose lacks any and all comedy as purpose stuff that the film promised and delivered on in the opening. That later seriousness is only hinted at with the opening shot's piece of dark humour concerning a run down shoe though.

That shoe by the way is easily the most Naruse like aspect of the whole film and from it grows so many of Naruse's themes. I know it's not actually his first film, but seeing as how it's the earliest survivor I want to say everything that makes Naruse great is evident is every frame and all of his obsessions and ability seems apparent from day one. He was born a fully formed film maker.

Also it looks like Criterion put a lot of effort into the transfers on this as it looks relatively great. There were no pops or burns or anything like that. The worst aspect was that about two thirds of the movie had that colour speckle thing going on, but even than some sections looked far younger than they are.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#43 Post by Yojimbo » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:40 pm

knives wrote:Flunky, Work Hard is unlike anything I expected it to be. The film is very clearly Naruse, but also extraordinarily different from his other films I've seen even Wife! Be Like a Rose made a few years later. It's much more strongly a comedy and stylistically is actually further away from Ozu than the later stuff despite reputation to the contrary.

The structure of the film is entertaining and sly, the movie begins very slapsticky and ever so gradually runs into drama. what at first seems like an average run into lovable loser territory ends on such a sad note that I'd be surprised if somebody doesn't mention crying in this thread. It's also in this drama section that Naruse gets his most deliberately arty as several sequences use German expressionist techniques and even a few experimental techniques. This builds to a finale that while happy I suppose lacks any and all comedy as purpose stuff that the film promised and delivered on in the opening. That later seriousness is only hinted at with the opening shot's piece of dark humour concerning a run down shoe though.

That shoe by the way is easily the most Naruse like aspect of the whole film and from it grows so many of Naruse's themes. I know it's not actually his first film, but seeing as how it's the earliest survivor I want to say everything that makes Naruse great is evident is every frame and all of his obsessions and ability seems apparent from day one. He was born a fully formed film maker.

Also it looks like Criterion put a lot of effort into the transfers on this as it looks relatively great. There were no pops or burns or anything like that. The worst aspect was that about two thirds of the movie had that colour speckle thing going on, but even than some sections looked far younger than they are.
I envy you for getting a headstart on me!
I'll probably watch the first two of the set tomorrow night.

I'm also re-watching some of my favourite Yoshida films from my complete Carlotta collection and although they probably have little in common other than that they're Japanese, filmed almost of their greatest films in black and white, and tended for the most part to reserve their best roles for women, - as they're probably, along with Pialat my great directorial discoveries of the last five years, I expect to enjoy every minute

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knives
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#44 Post by knives » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:09 am

One of the strange things about the film I forgot to mention is how the female element is almost entirely nullified. The film almost exclusively looks at the male lead and his son with any women in the picture acting as things to place jokes on or develop story off of. It's not done with misogyny of course, but the female presence is not there.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#45 Post by Yojimbo » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:29 am

knives wrote:One of the strange things about the film I forgot to mention is how the female element is almost entirely nullified. The film almost exclusively looks at the male lead and his son with any women in the picture acting as things to place jokes on or develop story off of. It's not done with misogyny of course, but the female presence is not there.
The thing I like about Naruse's work with women, and the parts for women, is that he doesn't deify them, or cast them as much put upon victims as Mizoguchi can do

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knives
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#46 Post by knives » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:33 am

I agree with that. With Naruse people are people. It's sad that that in and of itself is such a powerful statement that so many people miss out on. Naruse could have made much of this film identically with the genders swapped. I don't mean that in the writing which is two very male centric problems, but the way he deals with it is the same way he would with the characters as women. I'm so glad Criterion was willing to release these.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#47 Post by feckless boy » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:57 am

Since my posts in this thread have held such low quality it's kind of fitting that I be the one to link HTF's... ehhh.... review of this set.

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knives
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#48 Post by knives » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 am

That's just terrible.

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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#49 Post by Yojimbo » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:34 pm

I've just watched 'Flunky, Work Hard' and 'No Blood Relation'
The first reminded me a lot of 'I Was Born, But', particularly in its early outdoor scenes, with the kids playing and scrapping. Its a fun, gently humourous piece for the most part, quite deftly handled although theres not too much of the Naruse I've come too love.
I didn't think the brief montage scenes worked or were necessary; in fact they probably belonged to another film

'No Blood Relation' starts off, literally, with a bang, with a pickpocket being chased by an angry crowd.
For a drama it fairly rattles along at a fine pace, perhaps because Naruse had so much to fit into 79 minutes. But even at that the most telling scenes are those replete with close-ups lingering on the birth mother as she becomes aware that the child which she gave up for her career gives all her affection to her stepmother.
The story is somewhat contrived, particularly with the father of the child becoming pronounced bankrupt on the day the actress returns from Hollywood looking to be re-united with the daughter she abandoned.

Two scenes that particularly impressed me were: one, where the step-mother chases after the birth-mother, her mother and child, after she spotted them shopping in the store in which she worked, and secondly where the wife visited her bankrupt husband in jail to inform him about his ex-wife's attempt to gain custody of his daughter.
The editing and the rhythms were masterly here.

I'm not entirely sure that the humourous scenes featuring the gangster brother's punk accomplice were necessary; perhaps it was just a case of Naruse transitioning from his comedies to the mature melodramas that proved t be his forte.

Either way there wer clear signs of a cinematic master at work.

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knives
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Re: Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse

#50 Post by knives » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:42 pm

I had a different reaction to No Blood Relation than you did. It might actually be my favorite Naruse yet. It manages the domestic epic Naruse excels at so well that it's stunning. Whatever contrivances there may be in the plot work for me since they make the story. I suppose it's an odd way to excuse coincidence, but it makes the story so it works for me. The relationships sell those aspects so well that I don't care.

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