(aka "Twilight Samurai" or Tasogare Seibei" )

 

directed by Yoji Yamada
Japan 2002

 

Nominated as best foreign film this year at the Academy Awards and winner of nothing less than 12 Japanese Academy Award, one has to watch ”Twilight Samurai” – so much accolade demands attention.

Seibei is a petty Samurai in the time just prior to the Meiji restoration. Working as an accountant, he is without any ambition. The only thing he cares for is his two young daughters and his sick mother. In fact, he cares so little for anything else, that his clothes are torn and he rarely takes a bath. His colleagues laugh about him behind his back and give him the nickname “Twilight Seibei”.

When his childhood friend, and first love, is divorced because her husband, a wealthy Samurai, beats her up, she visits Seibei and the entire house lights up. Later, her brother, Seibei’s best friend, suggests that he marries her, but Seibei wont marry because of his poverty, even though both are in love with each other.

Where the classic Samurai films attacks the code as inhumane and have personal rebellion as its centre, the two recent Samurai films, “Twilight Samurai” and “When the last sword is drawn”, only has the code as a sub-motif. Far more important here is the depiction of a Samurai, who has lost all illusions about the code and who just tries to live: Important here in the modern Samurai film is the human drama, the code is part of the setting. In “When the last sword is drawn”, the protagonist is an over polite miser, only because he sends everything he earns home to support his family and secure them a good life. In “Twilight Samurai”, the protagonist puts himself so far aside, that his personal appearance and hygiene lacks, to support his family, even sitting up all night making small traps. These modern Samurai films also take place just prior to the Meiji restoration of 1868, where the classic Samurai film takes place in the 16th century. Both films also end with the protagonist dying in the Samurai uprising against the Emperor. One might say, that in the classic Samurai films, there was rebellion, because there was something to rebel against. Perhaps the Japanese mentality has changed so much over the last 50 years, that instead of following orders blindly or rebelling against doing so, the Japanese now has grown indifferent, accepted his fate and is struggling to support his family. Perhaps the tone of these films suggest, that Japan needs a new restoration. In any case, these two Samurai films represents something worthwhile investigating.

Unknown to most non-Japanese, the director Yamada Yoji, is famous as the director of the worlds longest running film-series, “Tora-San”. Despite being a stock director for Shochiku, he directs “Twilight Samurai” with great control, paying attention to the smallest detail. The professionalism and skill from making about 2 films a year for more than 40 years is visible. Equally visible is the at times breathtaking cinematography, which has a distinct feeling of early 50s Shochiku color film: Intended, I can’t say. But what makes “Twilight Samurai” such a great film, is its story, that while having a skeleton of romantic drama, reflects upon working in a dead end job supporting his family, daring not to dream, and puts it all versus a system where personal freedom doesnt exist. As such, there is a timeless quality about the film. A wonderful film.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 2, 2002 (Japan)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC

Big thanks to Darrell Matthews and  Henrik Sylow for all the Screen Caps!

(Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC LEFT vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)

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Distribution Shochiku
Region 2 - NTSC

Tartan Japan

Region 0 - PAL

Panorama
Region 3 - NTSC
Runtime 2:08:52 2:09:18 2:08:52
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.12 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.70 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:

 

Shochiku

 

Bitrate:

Tartan (Asia Extreme)

 

Bitrate:

 

Panorama

 

Audio

Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1ch Surround
Japanese: DTS 5.1ch Surround
Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0ch Surround

2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese, 5.1 Dolby Digital Japanese, DTS Japanese

2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese, 5.1 Dolby Digital Japanese, 2.0 Dolby Digital Cantonese

Subtitles English, Japanese, None English, None English, Cantonese, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio:
Shochiku Home Video


Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

Disc 1
• Original Teaser (0:35)

• Teaser II (1:03)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:05)

 
 

Disc 2

Extras

Novel to film feature (1:09:34)

Behind the scenes feature (2:00:05)

Award Presentations (33:04)

Fight Scene Storyboard to film features

Scene 1 (5:51)

Scene 2 (1:28)

Scene 3 (4:23)

 

Collector’s booklet: Yoji Yamada Filmography12

 

DVD Release Date: May 24, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio: Tartan Japan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Original Trailer (2:00)
• Original Teaser (1:06)
• Tartan Trailer Reel

DVD Release Date: November 22, 2004
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Panorama

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Filmography
• Trailers from other films by Yoji Yamada

 

DVD Release Date: July 29, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

 

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

 

Check out more in "The Library"


 

 

Comments ADDITION (Shochiku - Dec - 04): - While I have not seen the uncompressed images from the other sources to my eye the R2 Japan release is a bit sharper with a bit more detail. The lower image contrast probably contributes greatly to the increased detail, especially the detail seen in the highlights, and in human skin. The image is also exhibits a little less red push, yielding a more natural color palette.

Darrell Matthews

Once again a NTSC to PAL transfer from Tartan. And looking from it, its from the same source as the Panorama, as both images are virtually identical. Both images lack sharpness in detail one could expect from such a recent release. Winner is Tartan for the simple reason, that its underscanned a few percentages more than Panorama. Both images do not justice to this film.

Having a great mix to begin with, the DTS really doesn't add much, except a bit more dynamic range from the rears.

About additional material, well, there are trailers. Originally Tartan announced a 2-Disc SE with tons of extra, but this release was delayed two times during the last 6 months, in search for source material, and it looks like Tartan simply ran into "best possible atm" vs. "deadline". Sad.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 

 





DVD Menus

(
Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC LEFT vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Subtitle Sample

(Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC TOP vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
 - captures resized to 800px width from 1016px original

 

 


Screen Captures

(Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC TOP vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC TOP vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC TOP vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC TOP vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Shochiku Home Video -Region 2 - NTSC TOP vs. Tartan Japan - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE 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...

 

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

Distribution Shochiku
Region 2 - NTSC

Tartan Japan

Region 0 - PAL

Panorama
Region 3 - NTSC

Hit Counter


Report Card:

Image:

Shochiku

Sound:

Shochiku

Extras: Shochiku
Menu: Panorama



 

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Many Thanks...

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