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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:52 pm 
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ECLIPSE SERIES 3: LATE OZU

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Five wonderful works of art by Japanese master filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu. Made directly after Tokyo Story, widely considered his most perfect film and one of the greatest movies ever made, these titles show Ozu at the top of the game, visually and narratively. Elegant, humorous, rich with joy and sadness, these films further demonstrate why Ozu has become synonymous with the word cinema.

Early Spring

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In his first film after the commercial and critical success of Tokyo Story, Ozu examines life in postwar Japan through the eyes of a young salaryman, dissatisfied with career and marriage, who begins an affair with a flirtatious co-worker.

Tokyo Twilight

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In the dead of winter, past and present traumas afflict two sisters and their aging father in this, one of Ozu's most heartbreaking and powerful works.

Equinox Flower

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In Ozu's splendid first color film, a stubborn businessman who disapproves of his daughter's fiance must learn to embrace modern romance.

Late Autumn

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Ozu regular Setsuko Hara, once the marrying child in Late Spring, becomes the parent in this poignant tale of the bonds between mother and daughter.

The End of Summer

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Ozu's second-to-last film beautifully blends comedy and tragedy to tell the story of three sisters who are stunned to discover that their aging father has taken up with his former mistress.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:58 pm 
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Wow. Those are too minor to put on the main label?! I wonder how many of the main Criterion releases so far would have shown up on Eclipse if they had had the series from the beginning.

I guess Criterion's being more realistic about their Ozu schedule, which is a shame, but also good if it allows them to broaden their horizons more.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:03 pm 
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I'm going to optimistically take this as confirmation that An Autumn Afternoon is still coming from Criterion's main line.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:06 pm 
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Quote:
Those are too minor to put on the main label?!

I don't care what label they're on, this is a godsend.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:06 pm 
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This would have been a good opportunity for them to improve upon their early DVD of Good Morning without people having to shell out too much to get it. They might very well have a policy against any film already in the regular Collection going into an Eclipse box. Doesn't matter much to me because I have that third Tartan box. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what the colors of Equinox Flower end up looking like on this release.

I also wonder if they do have plans for a regular Criterion release of An Autumn Afternoon (as rumored a long time ago) since it won't be included here.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:07 pm 
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Jun-Dai wrote:
Wow. Those are too minor to put on the main label?!

I'm not sure "minor" is the word. As I understand it, Eclipse is also a venue where Criterion can't find prints/can't remaster a film to bring it up to the Criterion level. Surely the late Ozu stuff will look fine, but I imagine that less work will go into it then, say, Tokyo Spring. This way, their name isn't tarnished by fanboys shouting, "Why doesn't this look as good?"


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:21 pm 
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Is Early Spring the only one of those not already out on an acceptable disc? I guess I'll wait and see what the transfers on the others look like -- if they're anything like their treatment of Good Morning I'll probably have to pass and get the Tartan and AE discs instead, especially since I already have 2 of the films in Tartan's Ozu Vol. 3. I was really hoping their first Ozu box would tackle all previously unavailable films rather than duplicating other regions.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:22 pm 
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cgray wrote:
Jun-Dai wrote:
Wow. Those are too minor to put on the main label?!

I'm not sure "minor" is the word. As I understand it, Eclipse is also a venue where Criterion can't find prints/can't remaster a film to bring it up to the Criterion level. Surely the late Ozu stuff will look fine, but I imagine that less work will go into it then, say, Tokyo Spring. This way, their name isn't tarnished by fanboys shouting, "Why doesn't this look as good?"

I don't think that's quite right. What they said on the blog is:

Peter Becker wrote:
There will be no supplements and the master materials will be the best we can find, but they won't be full Criterion restorations ... The goal here is to make these films available, to make sure that Criterion's own work style doesn't contribute to the continuing unavailability of these films ... At the moment, you'll find more Mizoguchis in theaters (thanks to a traveling retrospective) than in the video store, and that's certainly also true for Naruse, Ozu, and Imamura. While Criterion is working on new special editions of individual pictures by all of these filmmakers, at a rate of maybe one or two a year, we'll never be able to represent the breadth of their bodies of work. Eclipse will help to fill that gap.

The Eclipse sets are coming because if they don't do it this way we won't see all the Ozus from them until dvd is extinct. My understanding is that they may later revisit one or more of these films for a Criterion edition. So I don't think it means they think these are "minor" or that they can only get crappy prints. It's a matter of the available resources & the time it takes them to put something out on Criterion (as opposed to Eclipse).


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:37 pm 
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Quote:
STREET DATE: 6/12

So I guess one per month is not to be taken literally.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:51 pm 

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Gregory wrote:
I also wonder if they do have plans for a regular Criterion release of An Autumn Afternoon (as rumored a long time ago) since it won't be included here.

A prominent Ozu scholar (sorry to be coy) recorded a Criterion commentary for An Autumn Afternoon a year or two ago, so I'm sure it will be released at some point.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:57 pm 
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A prominent Ozu scholar

Roger Ebert again? (Just kidding) Yes, I think it will probably be coming, but I didn't want to leave out the minor possibility that it went into indefinite postponement for some reason. It's one of the Ozus that are in good shape, so I can't see why that would have happened.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:01 pm 
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They can always upgrade titles from this in the future as a Criterion I suppose. So we probably see another Ozu set sometime in the future, perhaps next year.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:46 pm 
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Question would be, what extras could be added usefully to any rerelease on Criterion of any particular title?... There is kind of a law of diminishing returns after the an initial headlining set of releases on CC, pointing to subsequent quality budget releases on the Eclipse line like this as the way to go with large filmographies...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:28 pm 
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Lovely news! I think one main reason this is an Eclipse release and not drip-fed Criterions (by which measure we'd expect to see the last of these titles turn up in 2015) is the ratio of available films to available extras. There's only a limited pool of material about Ozu out there, not a lot of untapped key collaborators alive, and no real need for commentaries on most of these films. I expect we'll see An Autumn Afternoon on Criterion eventually with appropriate "late Ozu" extras.

The only downside I see is that this is likely to push the anticipated "Early Ozu" Eclipse release further down the queue.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:37 pm 
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Oh my god!!! :shock:

This just made my year. Most of these are considered classics, correct? Unfortunately, the only Ozu films I've seen this far are the Criterion releases (and trust me, I've watched them many, many times). Could someone please tell me a little about these films? Or direct me to some non-imdb.com links/essays/reviews/stills?

This almost makes up for that Chinese water torture Criterion put me through with their painfully slow Ozu release schedule.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:49 pm 

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Wow. You'd think if Cassavetes, Rohmer and even Fassbinder deserved box sets from the main line criterion, then surely OZU deserved that similar treatment.

My only hope is that the transfers would not be abysmal!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:58 pm 

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I'm so excited, and this is the first box I'll definitely be getting. I have no interest in the bergman, a slight interest in the malle, for completions sake, but this is a mammoth release, and what should have started the line in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:11 am 
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Dear Catastrophe Totoro wrote:
Could someone please tell me a little about these films? Or direct me to some non-imdb.com links/essays/reviews/stills?

My two cents is that I've seen and loved all of these, and it seems to me that although each film is unmistakably connected on different levels of the creative process to Ozu's work as a whole, each is also a very distinct experience. Tokyo Twilight will take some viewers off guard who are not expecting an Ozu film to sustain such emotional intensity. I found it even more harrowing than A Hen in the Wind (which also hit me hard but has at least a few more glimmers of hope). You're likely to come out of it with an extremely jarred sense of the "types" commonly associated with Setsuko Hara and especially Chishu Ryu. I'm avoiding detail here on purpose so as not to deflate the experience of seeing each film's story unfold, as I try to go into a film knowing very little about what's "good" or "bad" in each character and about what happens.
The End of Summer -- about a patriarch approaching the final phase of his life who gets back together with an old mistress to the dismay of his daughters -- contains similar themes of family dissolution, but in much different tones, which change, rather realistically, with virtually no notice.
Late Autumn is an enjoyable re-working of Late Spring -- lovely, but for me nothing can touch the latter. Late Autumn and Equinox Flower are among the most ironic and witty of Ozu's later films. That leaves Early Spring, another one which deals with dalliances and marital friction involving a central male character, and with dark undertones. I loved the way Ozu captured the petty frustrations of the salaryman's routine, which he tries to escape by means of the affair.


Last edited by Gregory on Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:11 am 
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The prints for Equinox Flower and Late Autumn are gorgeous (and so are the Shochiku DVDs) -- so lack of good source material is not a reason for these to be released under the Eclipse brand. I hope that Criterion finally gets the color right for these Ozu releases.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:28 am 
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This is great news. I'm looking forward to seeing these films with decent subtitles (though it will be the third time I've bought Equinox Flower *grits teeth*). I assume this means An Autumn Afternoon is being held onto for future release, as well as Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice. I also hope that Good Morning gets rereleased at some point with I Was Born But...


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:32 am 

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I'm an Ozu fan and I'm really dissapointed. If I wanted cheap releases of Ozu films I would go and buy Tartan box sets or Panorama releases. I don't know what are they thinking at Criterion.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:34 am 
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While I am upset that these films are not released on the main Criterion line, if they come out in worthwhile transfers, I'll be satisfied - after all, we shouldn't really expect a lavish Criterion DVD for each and every remaining Ozu title.

Now for Autumn Afternoon...


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:14 am 
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Brilliant! One of the big debates I've been having is over whether to get the Tartan Ozu sets, or wait. This set goes a long way towards deciding me!

Just to put the Region 2 information into this thread, the Tartan sets break down as follows:

Volume 1: Late Spring, Early Summer, Tokyo Story (all Criterions)
Volume 2: Record of a Tenement Gentleman, The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice
Volume 3: Equinox Flower, Tokyo Twilight, Good Morning
Volume 4: Late Autumn, An Autumn Afternoon

So getting this 'Late Ozu' set completes volume 3 and half completes volume 4, while leaving volume 2 untouched so if I get some spare cash in the future that would be a good purchase too!

The End of Summer is in the Artificial Eye 'Japanese Masters' collection, along with Floating Weeds and two films by Mizoguchi: The Life of Oharu and The Lady of Musashino, but of course Floating Weeds already is out with its silent companion through Criterion and the two Mizoguchi films are also available separately.

That leaves the Early Spring as the 'big' film of the set. I did a quick search on DVD-Basen and it only came up with a
Region 3 Panorama disc, reviewed by DVD Beaver, so making this film available should make the set important (it will also be one of the best ways to see, if DVD Beaver review the set, how an un-touched-up Eclipse release compares to the Panorama disc, or whether they will be of similar quality)


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:43 am 
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Agree EARLY SPRING is the highlight - been waiting for this one to replace a far from perfect off air VHS copy...

The Tartan TOKYO TWILIGHT could also be improved on - it's a little dark, and hopefully Eclipse will also subtitle the song verses and recitation words towards the end of EQUINOX FLOWER - Tartan did not, necessitating a look at hard copy translation transcribed from ex FilmFour tape when this section of the film comes on... This being what is missing on the Tartan...

Quote:
EQUINOX FLOWER RECITATION & SONG

(This recitation is based on a farewell poem
by the patriot Masatsura Kusunoki)

The precepts of my father remain deep in my memory. The edict of the Emperor I will follow faithfully.

(This is quite a long poem so drink while you listen)

Ten years of patience
Now the great day is here
Strike a mighty blow!
Fill the enemy with fear!
For the Emperor's cause we fight once again
We vow to do battle and die as men
Our band of 143 warriors united as one
Determined we are to fight until we have won
In death heroes gain an eternal flame
Cowards suffer everlasting shame
With arrowheads we shall rewrite or history
With sword-blades we shall carve our destiny
Look to the north!
We are outnumbered by the enemy
Seek out the general, deal him a death-blow

(That's about enough. That was inspiring. I agree)

In Sakurai the trees are in leaf
Twilight is the time of sorrow and grief
The warrior ponders: what is the world coming to?
Glistening on his armour, teardrops or the dew?

(BRIDGE AND WATER SHOT)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:35 am 
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The Eclipse sets are coming because if they don't do it this way we won't see all the Ozus from them until dvd is extinct. My understanding is that they may later revisit one or more of these films for a Criterion edition. So I don't think it means they think these are "minor" or that they can only get crappy prints. It's a matter of the available resources & the time it takes them to put something out on Criterion (as opposed to Eclipse).[/quote]
Actually cgray is right. This is what Criterion wrote in the December 14th entry on their blog:

Quote:
We want those films to be more readily available, and that's why we're creating Eclipse. Each month we'll present a short series, usually three to five films, focusing on a particular director or theme. There will be no supplements and the master materials will be the best we can find, but they won't be full Criterion restorations.


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