An Actor's Revenge

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What A Disgrace
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An Actor's Revenge

#1 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:48 am

Kon Ichikawa's film being released in a dual format edition on March 26, from a new 4K restoration.

Jack Phillips
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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#2 Post by Jack Phillips » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:27 pm

What about the other titles in the Japanese box set: Conflagration and Younger Brother?

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rapta
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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#3 Post by rapta » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:43 pm

Very happy to get more Ichikawa on UK Blu-ray (finally). Can get rid of my DVD copy of this now!

Agreed that somebody should release the other two Ichikawa titles from the Kadokawa box set. Maybe Eureka or Arrow will be up to the challenge, assuming BFI aren't? I'd also like to see upgrades of MoC's Alone Across the Pacific and Kokoro (though not sure they've been restored yet). Fires on the Plain would obviously be great too...again, Arrow perhaps?

Anyway, after BFI told me they weren't planning any Japanese upgrades, this comes as a nice surprise. Let's see if they do the same for Teshigahara's Woman of the Dunes, Honda's Godzilla or any of their remaining Kurosawa titles before their rights expire and Criterion inevitably port their own editions over here.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#4 Post by L.A. » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:05 pm

Have been curious about An Actor’s Revenge as well when it was mentioned in this thread.

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An Actor's Revenge

#5 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:17 am

I don't think this has gone public yet, but I have permission to announce additional specs:
• New audio commentary by critic, programmer, and Japanese film expert Tony Rayns;
100 Years of Japanese Film (Nagisa Oshima, 1995, 52 mins): the award winning director of In the Realm of the Senses (1976), explores the first century of Japanese cinema;
Oriental Splendour, Japan Pays Homage, To Rid Their Souls of Evil, and In Old Japan (1927-1930, 4 mins): four films about Japan made for the Topical Budget newsreel;
• Fully illustrated booklet with new writing by James Bell, Espen Bale, and Vic Pratt, plus original review and full film credits
And here’s the new and final artwork:

Image

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rapta
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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#6 Post by rapta » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:38 am

Had noticed the Oshima* doc had been submitted to the BBFC last month and assumed it was for this - very interested to see that. Also glad to see a commentary from Rayns, who these days tends to do interviews or introductions, so nice to see something a little different from him this time.

*Would be great to see BFI try and get hold of one or two Oshima features one day. I realise Carlotta released Death by Hanging, Boy, and The Ceremony on Blu-ray a couple of years ago, so there are at least three not yet released in the UK available in HD (though Criterion may be sniffing around UK rights for Death by Hanging).
Last edited by rapta on Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#7 Post by What A Disgrace » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:39 am

A full commentary. Sorry Criterion.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#8 Post by McCrutchy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:15 am

Yes! Was just about to ask for specs on this. Great to see a nice assortment of exclusive extras, especially the new commentary and the newsreels.

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Drucker
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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#9 Post by Drucker » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:55 am

rapta wrote:Had noticed the Oshima* doc had been submitted to the BBFC last month and assumed it was for this - very interested to see that. Also glad to see a commentary from Rayns, who these days tends to do interviews or introductions, so nice to see something a little different from him this time.

*Would be great to see BFI try and get hold of one or two Oshima features one day. I realise Carlotta released Death by Hanging, Boy, and The Ceremony on Blu-ray a couple of years ago, so there are at least three not yet released in the UK available in HD (though Criterion may be sniffing around UK rights for Death by Hanging).
Definitely weird that Boy hasn't been released yet, given its recent restoration.

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Ribs
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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#10 Post by Ribs » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:30 pm

I don't remember exactly but if memory serves all of the Oshimas Criterion has the rights to have HD masters on Hulu/Filmstruck except for Diary of a Shinjuku Thief. Doesn't necessarily mean they're in condition to warrant a home video release but they do exist.

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Big Ben
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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#11 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:14 pm

About that Oshima doc. As I recall (Please correct me if I'm mistaken) it's only about early and post-war Japanese Cinema (Pre sixties) to a faint degree. Most of the running time is spent on the Japanese New Wave. Oshima was kind of a pompous ass about these things. The superior Oshima doc was one he actually did for the BBC called "Kyoto My Mother's Place".

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#12 Post by ex-cowboy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:43 pm

It's certainly selective, but I suppose that's really the point of allowing one person to make a film on an entire national cinema. Also, he only had 50 minutes or so, Tavernier takes over 3 hours for his recent view on French cinema and apparently has plans for more. But yes, there is a lot on the new wave, but if memory serves me correctly, his narration does, at least at several points, explicitly reference how personal and 'prejudiced' his view of Japanese cinema was. It's also worth bearing in mind Oshima's (in)famous quote of "My hatred of Japanese cinema extends to absolutely all of it" or something along those lines, although admittedly that was in the early to mid -70s (either just after Dear Summer Sister or around the time of Ai no Corida), if I'm not mistaken, so this surely covers some of the criticism of how selective he may be.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#13 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:38 pm

I would have to strongly disagree on the piece just being about (even mostly about) the Japanese New Wave. That is the focus of the mid-section (and Oshima takes pains to say in his commentary how much he hates the "New Wave" term!), but there is just as much attention paid to silent, 20s and 30s cinema (the "first golden age", with clips from Humanity and Paper Balloons and The Rickshaw Man) and the post-war era of Kurosawa, Ozu, Mizoguchi and Keisuke Kinoshita ("the second golden age").

Oshima does frame a lot of the mid-section of the film ("the third golden age") on the 60s to mid-80s (basically Cruel Story of Youth through to Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence) with clips from his own films, but he's as much at pains to situate his own filmmaking within the context of the challenges that everyone else was facing at the same time (Seijun Suzuki's firing post-Branded To Kill, Kaneto Shindo setting up his own production company to make The Naked Island, much as Oshima attempted to to make his films). For example Oshima did perhaps the earliest focus with this documentary on the 'pink films' (low budget erotic films, such as those by Koji Wakamatsu) and Nikkatsu's "Roman Porno" period, which segues into his own attempts to push the boundaries of sex on screen with In The Realm of the Senses. He's situating himself within a trend, though doesn't shy away from the questions surrounding actually having to leave Japan to make the film, and whether something like Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence really qualifies as 'Japanese' at all in some senses, or whether it belongs more to an 'international art cinema' world than any specific country.

But he also praises a lot of the more political films of the 70s too, such as Shuji Terayama with a clip from Throw Away Your Books, Rally In The Streets, and the beginning of a documentary trend in the films of the period. Which were co-existing along with Kinji Fukasaku's yakuza action films, or the long running Tora-san series.

One of the characteristics of all of the BFI's Century of Cinema series was that they asked for 'Personal Journeys' more than just a dispassionate run through a century of cinema. After Scorsese (who also got three hours, much as Tavernier had in his recent documentary), Oshima is the only other director in this series to really effectively combine their personal reflection with historical context (and Scorsese himself cuts off his film at the point at which he started making films in the late 60s, saying that he couldn't be objective about a history of cinema anymore at that point). Oshima pushes into the period he made films and then beyond it into namechecking films and filmmakers from the mid-80s on into the 90s (we should note that the film was made in 1995, so it was getting quite up to date at the time of its production). A couple of lackings in the film that I did note however is that there is not much attention paid to anime (only represented by a still from Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind), and one big omission is that Juzo Itami is not mentioned at all. Kitano's Sonatine is the most recent film noted, but there are also clips from films that seem to have gone completely unreleased in the West: 1985's Typhoon Club and 1992's Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. And he ends by noting the most interesting films coming out at the time were dealing with non-Japanese in Japan with a clip from Yoichi Sai's All Under The Moon. (That's actually quite prescient of Takashi Miike's work in future decades, which often featured multi-ethnic casts of characters, at least in the Black Society Trilogy), as well as films being made by people with other careers outside of a filmmaking background, such as the novelist Ryu Murakami's work.

Aside from the lack of Juzo Itami (and there are no Japanese horror titles like Jigoku or House mentioned. Though I presume House's recent fame comes from its recent 'midnight movie' rediscovery in the West?), I think it is a pretty good skim through 100 Years of Japanese film history. Sure, something more comprehensive would be better but even at this point we are still only just getting to the stage of even knowing titles of films, let alone seeing them being made available to view (something like Nikkatsu's Roman Porno period is only just being unearthed in more depth by US DVD companies in the last few years. And we've only just got Kiju Yoshida's films in that Arrow set. Koji Wakamatsu seems like the next director to really need to have his work spotlighted. Plus Sogo Ishii of course!)

I would probably have thrown Shinya Tsukamoto in there with the Tetsuo films in that period (and of course post this documentary his masterpiece, 1998's Bullet Ballet!), and probably the fantastic 1982 drama Heart, Beating In The Dark by Shunichi Nagasaki. But in the decades since this film was made, things have only gotten more interesting. Just off the top of my head if I were talking about Japanese cinema following 1995 I'd throw in the documentaries A and A2 about the aftermath of the Aum Shinrikyo terrorist attacks, as well as the crazed truly punkish offshoots of the 'cyberpunk' trend springing from Tsukamoto's films such as works by Kei Fujiwara and Shohzin Fukui. Shinji Aoyama's Eureka. We cannot miss the influence of Takashi Miike, or Sion Sono. (And international films tackling Japan with an outsider perspective, from The Last Samurai and Lost In Translation to Silence and the remake of The Grudge! Speaking of which the huge influence back the other way of Japanese horror. And anime in general). Kiyoshi Kurosawa's unsettling, and amusing, dissections of societal ennui. Hirokazu Kore-eda's exquisitely sensitive dramas. And of course Kinji Fukasaku bowing out with Battle Royale. Not to mention Oshima's own Gohatto.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:39 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#14 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:30 pm

Thank you for the correction Colin. My basis for information was a forum post that was particularly aggravated with Oshima some years ago. Glad to be proven wrong.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#15 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:51 am

Going through it again with the announcement of this release it is amazing to note that even over twenty years on, and with this documentary not having enough time to focus on more than a wide swathe of Japanese cinema, that there are still lots of titles represented in still and title form that are still rather obscure, at least in the West (particularly a lot of those 30s and 40s films)

But on re-watching it is also exciting to recognise many more names than I did back in the mid 90s, now that directors like Kinji Fukasaku and Hiroshi Shimizu have been well treated on DVD. Even the namechecking of the director Suo Masayuki as an upcoming talent with a clip from his (fascinating looking!) first film from the early 80s is interesting, as he is perhaps most famous for the film made just after this documentary, the 'salaryman learning to ballroom dance' romance Shall We Dance? in 1996, which of course got a Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez remake in 2004! It's even more amusing to see a film directed by Naoto Takenaka briefly namechecked in the Nikkatsu period - Takenaka is probably better known as an actor mostly working in the Roman Porno films (for example he turns up as the lead in Takashi Ishii's brilliantly bleak 1988 film Angel Guts: Red Vertigo), and probably his highest profile role was in the supporting cast of Shall We Dance!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#16 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:21 am

ex-cowboy wrote:Tavernier takes over 3 hours for his recent view on French cinema and apparently has plans for more.
He doesn't have plans for more, it's rather that the 3 hours movie is a digest of the 8 episodes series which has been shown end of last year and should be released on video this year.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#17 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:49 am

tenia wrote:
ex-cowboy wrote:Tavernier takes over 3 hours for his recent view on French cinema and apparently has plans for more.
He doesn't have plans for more, it's rather that the 3 hours movie is a digest of the 8 episodes series which has been shown end of last year and should be released on video this year.
Does 'should be' here mean 'it's going to be' or 'deserves to be' as i haven't seen any confirmation of a DVD release of the complete series?

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#18 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:10 am

It's confirmed.
I was unsure when writing my post if the release was planned for 2018 or rather 2019. I re-checked and it's so far planned for end 2018, on both DVD and BD.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#19 Post by ex-cowboy » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:30 am

tenia wrote:
ex-cowboy wrote:Tavernier takes over 3 hours for his recent view on French cinema and apparently has plans for more.
He doesn't have plans for more, it's rather that the 3 hours movie is a digest of the 8 episodes series which has been shown end of last year and should be released on video this year.

It may have just been poor copy, but the piece I read about it, which included an interview with him, stated that he would like to do more. Perhaps 'plans' was too strong a word, what I was trying to get across was just how particular Oshima had had to be.

RE: 100 Years of Japanese Film, apologies, I stand corrected colinr0380. It is a number of years since I last watched it and the New Wave stuff stuck in my mind. You're right to mention how Oshima hated the tag - suggesting that they were imitating their French peers, when almost all of the those in the Shochiku New Wave, and those later added by western scholars after dropping the Shochiku part (Imamura, Teshigahara etc.), were all making films before or at the same time as Godard, Truffaut et. al. I'm pretty sure that there's at least one of Oshima's essays on this that has been edited into English.

And, yes, I was actually going to mention the section concerning Yoichi Sai's work as it shows to what a great extent Oshima's film was a continuation of his political concerns.

Yes, the Miike issue is an interesting one. In a way, he is the closest to Oshima in the sense of adopting a range of styles (for different reasons than Oshima, admittedly) whilst examining certain key political and societal concerns from different angles. His interest in Japan's outsiders - economic, racial, ethnic, cultural, is certainly a major part of his best work.

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Re: An Actor's Revenge

#20 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:25 am

I'm glad to know that the Tavernier documentary is many hours longer than the three hours available so far!
ex-cowboy wrote:And, yes, I was actually going to mention the section concerning Yoichi Sai's work as it shows to what a great extent Oshima's film was a continuation of his political concerns.
I think Yoichi Sai is a very interesting director, though I have not as yet managed to see much of his work. I remember that his 2004 film Blood and Bones starring Takeshi Kitano and dealing with Korean-Japanese characters was slated for a UK DVD release in the mid-2000s, but unfortunately I think it got caught up in the liquidation of Tartan Video and in the end never came out on disc. The film by Sai that I have seen (thanks to Finch selling me his US Region 1 DVD of it!) is his 2002 film Doing Time, which is a wonderful (albeit conservatively tinged!) film dealing with the rather sedate pace of prison life and the different types of 'rebellious' (or 'outsiders'/'outcasts' from society in many different ways) people finding comfort in simple, repetitive joys of work ritual and routine (though the kind of peace in confinement that might be likely to eventually lead to someone being unable to adapt to life outside prison), which seems to imply that it is one of the last places left for male bonding across class divides or generations. Or at least the only place left with a guaranteed job for as long as you are resident there! It's kind of the antidote to that Oz TV series!

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