(aka "Sonachine" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/kitano.htm
Japan 1993

With “Sonatine”, Kitano hit the international scene. Already world famous, at least five times over in Japan, the rest of the world knew next to nothing about him. Here came a film, so fresh and inventive, that some already began talking about a possible new master.

"Sonatine" opens with a shock, precisely 1 minute 27 seconds into the film. A 38 second shot begins, as a static Close Up of a boy sorting mah-jong pieces, suddenly, after 14 seconds, the camera pulls back in a tracking shot for 11 seconds, allowing Kitano and Terajima to enter and leave the frame, leaving us with a 13 second static Medium Long Shot of the boy, still sorting pieces. Considering Kitano's persistent use of static frame compositions in his previous three films, this 38 second shot, especially the 11 seconds of backward tracking, hits one in the face, as if a mute person suddenly utters a word.

It is also the first film where composer Jo Hisaishi’s minimalist score really carries the images. It is the first of many things, all showing a mature and confident Kitano; Thus, “Sonatine” is rightfully the first real Kitano film. Kitano himself agrees upon this, when he says: “...it is with Sonatine that I had the feeling to achieved the first stage as a director."

Aniki (Kitano) is an underboss in the Yakuza. Becoming increasingly bored with the daily routines and having run out of steam, he considers retirement. When another yakuza underboss, who is envious of his success, plots and causes Aniki to lose his territory and family, and forcing him to hide, he sees it as an opportunity to start fresh. But can he?

The title derives from a musical term meaning little sonata, which amongst other is used for simple educational pieces; Kitano elaborates: “When learning to play the piano, one studies various types of pieces. When one acquires the basic knowledge of these pieces, one has reached sonatine. Its not really control, but it marks the end of first stage of training.”

 

Henrik Sylow of kitanotakeshi.com

Poster

Theatrical Release: June 5, 1993

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DVD Comparison:

Miramax - Region 1- NTSC vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for all the Screen Caps!

(Miramax - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - 2nd vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rd vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)

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Distribution

Miramax

Region 1- NTSC

MIA

Region 2 - PAL

Chinese Bootleg
Region 3 - NTSC
Panorama
Region 3 - NTSC
Runtime 1:33:58 1:33:55 1:33:50 1:34:05
Video

1.85 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.82 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.78 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.92 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.80 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.73 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:

Miramax

 

Bitrate:

MIA

 

Bitrate:

 

Chinese Bootleg

 

Bitrate:

 

Panorama

 

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese, 2.0 Dolby Digital French (dub) 2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese

2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese

2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese, 5.1 Dolby Digital Japanese

Subtitles English, Spanish, None English, None None Chinese, English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Buena Vista

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.82

Edition Details:
• 
Intro by Quentin Tarantino (1:03)
• Outro by Quentin Tarantino (6:36)
• Conversation with Takeshi Kitano (10:46)
- What is Sonatine (2:04)
- Takeshi Kitano on Quentin Tarantino (1:13)
- The violence in Sonatine (2:42)
- The Yakuza fascination (2:14)
- The genesis of Sonatine (2:34)


DVD Release Date: November 9th, 2004
Dual slim Keep Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: MIA

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.82

Edition Details:
• Filmography
• Biography
• Stills gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
• Tokyo Bullet previews

DVD Release Date: April 22, 2002
Transparent Keepcase

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Chinese Bootleg

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78

Edition Details:

 

DVD Release Date:
 

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: Panorama

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.80

Edition Details:
• Filmography
• Biography
• Audio Commentary (Chinese, no subtitles)

 

DVD Release Date: September 12, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments ADDITION- Miramax (November -04) - The Miramax image is simply wonderful and versus all other releases, except Bandai and the Chinese bootleg, a revelation. The colours are deep and saturated. Versus the Chinese bootleg, the Miramax is noticable darker, but much sharper. Then again, no wonder as this is a DVD9 vs. a DVD5. Until further notice, this is the definitive edition of "Sonatine".

Fast forward to the additional material. Quentin Tarantino introduced the film and talks about it afterwards. One doesn't have to be very knowledgable about Kitano to realise how shallow QT is here, displaying a very limited knowledge of both Kitano and Japanese cinema. For instance, he constantly talks about Kitano as a genius, but never explains why. Likewise he talks about how "Sonatine" began a whole new series of Yakuza films, but never says which. All in all, very embarrassing, but for those who never have heard about Kitano or "Sonatine", it will provide some basic introduction.

A bit more interesting is a 10 minute conversation with Kitano. The questions are poorly chosen, again demonstrating lack of insight, and much of what Kitano says is old news to those who know him. But again, for those completely unaware of both director and film, it does provide basic introduction. As if QT doesn't promotes himself enough already, one of the questions is: "What does Kitano think of QT?"

Considering the standard of interviews from Artificial Eye and Zilli (French DVD), the additional material for "Sonatine" is extraordinary poor.

******

The Chinese Bootleg is from the Bandai DVD and, once more, is the best of the compared. The MIA DVD looks basically as a direct transfer from the Panorama, only with different subtitles, as both colour scheme and bottom / left cropping of 2,5% are the same.

The Chinese Bootleg has a sharper more detailed picture and the colours are rich and saturated. It simply is a delight to watch.

Regarding the sound, the Panorama has a 5.1 DD track, which adds some space to especially the music of Hisaishi. While it is nice, the film loses nothing from the 2.0 DD track.

If one should chose between the Panorama and the MIA, I would suggest the MIA, simply because the subtitling is better.

Announced August 2003 and to be released in January 2004, the long awaited Miramax US R1 version of “Sonatine” was pulled indefinitely and is currently not on their release schedule. As it was to be released thru Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the current problems between Disney and Miramax is not the most fertile in regards to it returning.

Thus the sad fact is, that there are no 16x9 editions of “Sonatine” with English subtitles available, unless one gets hold of the rare OOP Kitano box (Kitano Takeshi Kantoku Zenshu).

 

 - Henrik Sylow of kitanotakeshi.com

 

 





DVD Menus

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Miramax - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

 (Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

 
 
   
   

 


 

Subtitle Samples

(Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


Screen Captures

(Miramax - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - 2nd vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rdE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Miramax - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - 2nd vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rdE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Miramax - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - 2nd vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rdE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Miramax - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - 2nd vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rdE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Miramax - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - 2nd vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rdE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Miramax - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. MIA - Region 2 - PAL - 2nd vs. Chinese Bootleg - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rdE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

 

DVD Box Covers

  

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

Distribution

Miramax

Region 1- NTSC

MIA

Region 2 - PAL

Panorama
Region 3 - NTSC

 


 

 

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Report Card:

 

Image:

Miramax

Sound:

Panorama

Extras: Panorama
Menu: Panorama





 

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