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(aka 'An Autumn Afternoon' or 'Sanma no aji")

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/ozu.htm
Japan 1962

Yasujiro Ozu s captivating final film, An Autumn Afternoon, displays the master director s skills at their consummate best. Ozu regular Chishu Ryu (Tokyo Story) plays Shuhei Hirayama, a concerned father eager to find a husband for his faithful daughter Michiko (Shima Iwashita) before she sees out her days caring for him. A cast of colourful characters weave seamlessly in and out of the story, highlighting themes of loneliness and fear for the future with deep poignancy and ironic humour.

Ozu s rarely-seen post-war film A Hen in the Wind (1948) is also included here. In a Japan recently devastated by WWII a devoted but near destitute mother waits for her husband s demobilisation. When her son falls seriously ill she turns to prostitution to pay his hospital bills.

***

Yasujiro Ozu's final film was also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man's dignified resignation to both life's ever-shifting currents and society's gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu's frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master's films, An Autumn Afternoon (Sanma no aji) is one of cinema's fondest farewells.

***

Ozu's last film and a noble competition to his much lauded directorial career. Close to ranking with his recognized great films - "Late Spring" and "Tokyo Story" his themes of familial communication continue. This time we have a similar narrative with widowed father unselfishly releasing his daughter for marriage leaving only himself and courting his son left at home. Contemplative shots fill many scenes with elderly loneliness and the cycle of life being examined in another gentle fashion. Ozu's trademark shots of power lines, trains, and solitary smoking all make their presence but social drinking is dealt extensively throughout perhaps foreshadowing Ozu's own enjoyment of alcohol and shortened lifespan.  out of .

Gary Tooze

Poster

Theatrical Release: November 18th, 1962 - Tokyo

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Comparison:

 Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC vs. Madman - Region 4 - PAL vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (Replacement disc added!)

Big thanks to Geert Jan Alsem for the region 4 DVD caps!

1) Criterion - Region - 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC SECOND

3) Madman - Region 4 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

  

 

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 446 - Region 1 - NTSC Panorama (Hong Kong) - Region 3 - NTSC

Madman Region 4 - PAL

BFI

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:52:40 1:52:36  1:52:40 1:52:44.041
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.59 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,443,704,506 bytes

Feature: 14,338,394,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 13.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Replacement disc:

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,569,760,986 bytes

Feature: 23,464,445,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.14 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

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

Bitrate: Criterion

Bitrate: Panorama

Bitrate: Madman

Bitrate: BFI Blu-ray

Bitrate: BFI Blu-ray Replacement disc

Audio  Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0)  Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)  Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) LPCM Audio Japanese 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, Traditional Chinese, None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• New audio commentary featuring film scholar David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
• Excerpts from "Yasujiro Ozu and The Taste of Sake," a 1978 French television program looking back on Ozu's career, featuring critics Michel Ciment and Georges Perec (14:39)
• Theatrical trailer
• 30-page liner notes booklet featuring new essays by film critic Geoff Andrew and film scholar Donald Richie

DVD Release Date: September 30th, 2008
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: Panorama

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Ozu Biography (text screen)
• Ozu Filmography (text screen)

DVD Release Date: October 28th, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Madman

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 2 Discs
• 'I Lived But...' (1983): A two hour documentary about the life and career of Ozu
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Stills Gallery

DVD Release Date: February 1, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

 

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,443,704,506 bytes

Feature: 14,338,394,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 13.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Replacement disc:

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,569,760,986 bytes

Feature: 23,464,445,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.14 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• 22-page illustrated booklet featuring essays and film notes by Kyoko Hirano and Jonathan Rosenbaum

• Contains DVD with An Autumn Afternoon and A Hen in the Wind

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 23rd, 2011
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

From BFI: 'After the release of our Dual Format Edition of Yasujiro Ozu’s An Autumn Afternoon we became aware that the Blu-ray Disc was encoded at a lower bit-rate than we would normally insist upon. In response to this, we have re-authored and re-pressed the project, and replacement discs are now available. If you are dissatisfied with the quality of the original Blu-ray Disc and would like a replacement, please contact Ben.Stoddart@bfi.org.uk giving details of your name and address and a new disc will be sent to you.'

Everything else about the package is the same - the audio, extras etc. The original Blu-ray was, as we described 'not be the most robust' it has more noise than the replacement which transfers at almost double the bitrate. This is more evident in the expanded captures and for those with more advanced systems. We applaud BFI as one of the few distributors who would correct such inconsistencies by offering a replacement - going to such lengths to satisfy the consumer.

***

ADDITION: BFI Dual-format package - May 2011: The BFI has been doing a solid job on their Ozu Blu-ray transfers - see Late Spring + The Only Son, Tokyo Story, Early Summer, Good Morning and There Was a Father and coming out now we have An Autumn Afternoon and Late Autumn. While this particular transfer may not be the most robust of the above group - it still exemplifies significant film qualities over the SD counterparts (including the pictureboxed Criterion) with rich textured grain and tighter lines. The file size on the single-layered disc is, like the bitrate, modest but the image produced in 1080P is still thick and pleasing.

The audio is via a linear PCM track that supports the dialogue-driven film well enough, I sometimes noted a disconnect in voice-sync but I had to focus pretty hard to identify it. It didn't affect my presentation to the negative. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'B'-locked disc.

There are no extras on the Blu-ray disc itself but the package includes a DVD of An Autumn Afternoon and a Ozu's A Hen in the Wind is also available in SD. Many should find value in the 22-page illustrated booklet featuring essays and film notes by Kyoko Hirano and Jonathan Rosenbaum. Ozu fans shouldn't think twice - an easy recommendation to those with discerning home theater tastes.

***

ADDITION: Criterion - September 08': Technically the disc is progressive and dual-layered (where the Panorama is single) and the Criterion is again pictureboxed transferred (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review) with a black border circumventing the framed image. The Criterion is coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard.

Criterion occasionally get complaints from some who are convinced that they attempt to 'correct' the greenish tinge of many older Asian films. We can again see the Panorama as having that green bias where it does not show on the U.S. release. Not surprisingly the Criterion transfer appears to have boosted the black levels a small degree and detail is brought up a notch. Contrast also leans to the Criterion with more pure and brighter whites. The Criterion may have a smidgeon less information in the frame (side and more on the top edges) but the bigger issues will be that the Madman is from an unconverted NTSC source (on a PAL disc) and the subtitles on the Panorama are ineffectual. NOTE: The Criterion subtitle translation seems slightly different than the Madman one - in many spots.

As a supplements Criterion offer a validating commentary by David Bordwell who is a pleasure to listen to plus there is an interesting 15-minute excerpt from "Yasujiro Ozu and The Taste of Sake," a 1978 French television program looking back on Ozu's career, featuring critics Michel Ciment and Georges Perec. With the commentary this extras perhaps equal or exceed the Madman's 2 hour 'I Lived But..." documentary which also appears on the second disc of the Criterion Tokyo Story. Criterion have some trailers and a 30-page liner notes booklet featuring new essays by film critic Geoff Andrew and film scholar Donald Richie.

So, the Criterion is the one to own for fans of the director. An easy and predictable choice.    

Gary W. Tooze

ADDITION- Madman Region 4- PAL (May 2006): The video on the Madman release is an interlaced NTSC to PAL conversion. However, unlike the extremely poor subtitles on the Panorama disc, the Madman release features the official translation from Shochiku. These proper subtitles alone are reason enough for me to highly recommend the Madman release over the Panorama. (The subtitle sample below doesn't do the Madman justice)

NOTE: Another huge bonus is the 2 hour documentary 'I Lived But...' from 1983. It discusses the life and career of Yasujiro Ozu.

 - Geert Jan

***

Though still signs of being non-progressive (combing in horizontal pans) this DVD image is quite strong. Relative sharpness, great skin-tones and vibrant colors. On the typical bad side for Panorama the subtitles are quite poor - lots of absentee gaps and extremely poor grammatical choices. At times the image quality is quite breathtaking for a probable analog sourced transfer. Decent contrast and black levels with no recognizable digital manipulations. Extras are the same as always (text screen bios and filmography) This is a good stop-gap until someone (Criterion?) releases it in a keeper edition.  

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 

Criterion

 

 

(Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC LEFT vs. Madman - Region 4 - PAL RIGHT)


 
 

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion - Region - 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC SECOND

3) Madman - Region 4 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region - 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC SECOND

3) Madman - Region 4 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region - 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC SECOND

3) Madman - Region 4 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region - 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC SECOND

3) Madman - Region 4 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray captures

 

1) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) BFI (original) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) BFI (Replacement disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Report Card:

Image:

Replacment Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion

 

DVD Box Cover

  

 

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

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 446 - Region 1 - NTSC Panorama (Hong Kong) - Region 3 - NTSC

Madman Region 4 - PAL

BFI

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 





 

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Gary Tooze

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