The Eel

by Shohei Imamura
Japanese - 1997

"The Eel involves the story of a white collar worker, Takuro Yamashita , paroled eight years after murdering his unfaithful wife in a blind rage. He restarts his life as a barber on the small island where his parole officer lives. One day he helps a young lady, Misa Shimizu played by Keiko Hattori, who he finds on the side of the road having overdosed. She recovers and begins to work for him. His only real communication is with the pet eel that he kept in the pond at prison and resides with him in a fish tank.

To enhance the film’s themes of loneliness and isolation, development is extremely subtle and slow as we wait to learn more about any of the major characters. The viewer is left to surmise many undercurrent emotions. We wonder if the pet eel that Shohei speaks to is the incarnation of his dead wife. I often felt that Shohei was constantly troubled by his past, which as a fit of rage could also be judged a “crime of passion”.

I think the film also dealt with repression of emotion. It appeared to take a lot for most of the characters, including the diverse lot of acquaintances who hang around his new barber shop, to express themselves openly. When they do, they tend to explode (very similar to Shohei’s rage against his unfaithful wife). The film tends to juggle many genre’s from very violent episodes to comedic ones. I found it to be very enjoyable and quite memorable."

 Gary W. Tooze's

 

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DVD Comparison

New Yorker - NTSC  Region 1 vs. Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK Region 0 - NTSC

(New Yorker -Left, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - Japan DVD - Right)

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Distribution New Yorker  
Region 1 - (NTSC)
Ocean Shores - Keenmind DVD 
Region 0 - (NTSC)
Runtime 1:56:20 min  1:52:16 min
Video 1.76:1 Letterboxed WideScreen 
Average Bitrate: 4.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.76:1 Letterboxed WideScreen
Average Bitrate: 4.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 R1 New Yorker

 

Bitrate:

 R0 Hong Kong 

Audio Japanese  (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)

Japanese  (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) 

Subtitles White-Bold, English (removable) Cream-colored, English and Chinese (non-removable)
Features Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Films
Theatrical Release Date: August 21, 1998
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2001
Run Time: 116 minutes
Production Company: New Yorker Films
Package Type: Keep Case


Aspect Ratio(s):

Full Screen (Standard) - 1.76:1


Discographic Information:
DVD Encoding: Region 1
Available Audio Tracks: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Available subtitles: English


Edition Details:
• Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
• Profiles/Filmographies Cast and Director
• Theatrical trailer
Release Information:
Studio: KeenMind
Theatrical Release Date: August 21, 1998
DVD Release Date: Summer, 2000
Run Time: 112 minutes
Production Company: Ocean Shores
Package Type: Keep Case


Aspect Ratio(s):

Full Screen (Standard) - 1.76:1


Discographic Information:
DVD Encoding: Region 0
Available Audio Tracks: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Available subtitles: English

Comments This is a pretty easy comparison. The New Yorker is heads and tails above the Ocean Shores Hong Kong DVD, which did come out first ( making excuses as to why I own it ). The Ocean shores logo appears occasinally onscreen in the HK disc. Colors are pale and muted and no where near as sharp as the New Yorker. The HK disc has no chapter selection or DVD menu. It also, obviously, has no Extras at all. This is a good film... go buy the New Yorker !

- Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading for Japanese Film Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


DVD Menu
(New Yorker -Left, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK DVD - Right)


No Chapter Menu

 


Titles

(New Yorker -Top, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK DVD - Bottom)




(New Yorker -Top, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK DVD - Bottom)



(New Yorker -Top, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK DVD - Bottom)



(New Yorker -Top, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK DVD - Bottom)



(New Yorker -Top, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK DVD - Bottom)



(New Yorker -Top, Ocean Shores - Keenmind - HK DVD - Bottom)


Report Card:

Image:

New Yorker

Sound:

-

Extras: New Yorker
Menu: New Yorker
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Distribution New Yorker  
Region 1 - (NTSC)
Ocean Shores - Keenmind DVD 
Region 0 - (NTSC)



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Many Thanks...

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