(aka "Fireworks" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/kitano.htm
Japan 1997

“I didn't realize how much I'd missed Japanese movies until I saw Takeshi Kitano's Hana-Bi… Here was a film, in the unlikely form of a violent crime thriller crossed with a domestic melodrama, that captured a sense of sublime transcendency not much felt since the golden age of Mizoguchi, Ozu and Naruse. Yet Kitano's sensibility remains resolutely modern; his is a world of jagged discontinuity, of harsh contrasts in tone and style, that is deeply indebted to post-war ironists like Oshima and Imamura. In a sense, Kitano is the one-man embodiment of the great contemporary period the Japanese cinema never had.” (Dave Kehr)

 

When receiving the Golden Lion in Venice, Kitano said: “Now, I am a master”. Kitano was, and still is, very critical about his own work and needs complete confidence in himself. With “Sonatine” he felt that he had finished his apprentice period and had reached a for him acceptable level of understanding film, with “Hana-Bi”, he had finished his master period and graduated with honours, in form of the award. Indeed, Kitano was now a master.

 

“Hana-Bi” is a very personal film, so personal, that I see it bordering exorcism, as Kitano’s inner demons are being confronted. Not surprisingly, the entire first part of the film is told thru complex ellipses noting upon reflection and after thought. As Nishi, who almost has lost everything, thinks about what he has lost and what he has left, so is Kitano; And where Nishi robs a bank and uses the money to take his dying wife on a last trip thru Japan, Kitano made “Hana-Bi”.

 

It is not without reason that Kehr mentions Mizoguchi and Ozu alongside Kitano. Mootori’s concept of “mono no aware”, that we experience the wholeness of life by encountering things (mono) and being sensitive to them (no aware), hence having them moving us, is an integrated motif in both directors films, and also here in “Hana-Bi”. While we see in Nishi, it is even more visible in the side plot about Horibe, who being paralysed and bound to a wheelchair rediscovers the world that surrounds him and expressing it thru painting (what Kitano actually began doing himself after the accident).

 

The story is simple: Nishi is an ex-cop, who has lost just about everything, and facing the death of his wife, who has cancer, he decides rob a bank, thus being able to travel Japan with his wife, feeling life once more before it all ends.

 

One of the best Japanese films ever made, “Hana-Bi” is the central work of Kitano, both as an artist and as a person. It liberated him, it allowed him to have fun again, which he sure did in his following film “Kikujiro” and it sat him free of the past. He certainly is a master.

Henrik Sylow of kitanotakeshi.com

Posters

 

Theatrical Release Date: March 20, 1998

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Madman - Region 2- PAL vs. Bandai (Japan) Region 2 - NTSC vs. New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC

ADDITION: Momentum Pictures (UK) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Ole of DVDBasen for the Spectrum screen captures and to Mark Wilson for all of the Bandai screen captures!

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Madman

Region 0 - PAL

Bandai (Japan)

Region 2  - NTSC

 

    

 

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New Yorker

Region 1  - NTSC

Spectrum 
Region 1 - NTSC

 

Distribution

Madman

Region 0 - PAL

Bandai (Japan)

Region 2  - NTSC

New Yorker

Region 1  - NTSC

Spectrum 
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:38:43 (4% PAL speedup) 1:43:24 1:38:39 1:42:58
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.50 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.12 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.27 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.13
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Madman

Bitrate:

Bandai

 

Bitrate:

New Yorker

Bitrate:

Spectrum

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English, None English, Japanese and none English and none English, Korean, Japanese and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Madman

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Documentary (27:14)
• - Trailer gallery (11:16)
• - Making of (15:58)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:56)

DVD Release Date: March 11, 2003
Amarey

Chapters 9

 

Release Information:
Studio: Bandai
Theatrical Release Date: March 20, 1998

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Single Layer

Edition Details:
• 
Theatrical trailer
• Behind the Scenes documentary
•  Cast & Crew Biographies
 

DVD Release Date: Dec 19th, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters: There are NO Chapters stops!
 

Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Films
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1

Dual Layer

Edition Details:
• Color, Widescreen, Dolby
• American and Japanese Trailers
• Art Gallery
• 'Making of' Featurette (Japanese with Eng subtitles)
• Enhanced Subtitles
• Widescreen letterbox format

DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Spectrum - South Korean .
Theatrical Release Date: March 20, 1998

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Single Layer

Edition Details:
Making of - Only Korean subtitles (14:51)
Trailer - Non-anamorphic (1:11).
2 booklets in Korean (58 pages / 12 pages)

DVD Release Date: March 22nd, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 16

 

Comments:
ADDITION- Madman - PAL (May 2005) - the addition of the Madman release doesn't impact any of the ratings. We still go Bandai for image and NY'er for audio.

*****

Now that we have a 3rd DVD to compare with we can see that the New Yorker has been the perpetrator of fiddling with the color scheme.  The Bandai (Japanese) is much sharper than the New Yorker and about on a par with the Spectrum. The New Yorker has too much red in the skin tones. Also the New Yorker is slightly vertically cropped. Between these three get the Bandai or Spectrum if you want a strong image and the New Yorker for the 5.1 sound and extras. Ohh and the New Yorker also appears to have cut some of the film's length, most likely more of the violence scenes that pervade this film. 

 - Gary W. Tooze

NOTE: Addition: The Momentum Pictures DVD makes no impact on the purchasing recommendation. It is hazy, very dark, cropped and the colors are off in the same manner that the New Yorker's are. Stick with the Bandai release.



Addition - Momentum Pictures (UK)

 

Big thanks to Pavel Borodin for the Momentum screen captures

 

Studio: Momentum Pictures, UK
PAL, Region 2

16:9 Anamorphic

Single sided, dual layer (on the cover it's says single layer)

Audio: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles: English

1:38:39

Average Bitrate: 6.50 mb/s

Special Feature:
Documentary (27 mins), Trailer

Keep Case

DVD Release Date: Feb 26th, 2001
8 chapters

Click to purchase

 

DVD Menus

  

 

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

Check out more in "The Library"




DVD Menus

 

There is only one menu for the Bandai DVD. The three lines up and down are for watching the movie with a) no subs b) Japanese subs c) English subs.

(Madman - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. New Yorker - R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Spectrum - R0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 


Screen Captures

(Madman - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Momentum Pictures- Region 2- PAL 2nd vs. Bandai - Region 2- NTSC - 3rd vs. New Yorker - R1 - NTSC - 4th vs. Spectrum - R0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Madman - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Momentum Pictures- Region 2- PAL 2nd vs. Bandai - Region 2- NTSC - 3rd vs. New Yorker - R1 - NTSC - 4th vs. Spectrum - R0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


(Madman - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Momentum Pictures- Region 2- PAL 2nd vs. Bandai - Region 2- NTSC - 3rd vs. New Yorker - R1 - NTSC - 4th vs. Spectrum - R0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


(Madman - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Momentum Pictures- Region 2- PAL 2nd vs. Bandai - Region 2- NTSC - 3rd vs. New Yorker - R1 - NTSC - 4th vs. Spectrum - R0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


(Madman - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Momentum Pictures- Region 2- PAL 2nd vs. Bandai - Region 2- NTSC - 3rd vs. New Yorker - R1 - NTSC - 4th vs. Spectrum - R0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

DVD Box Covers

 

    

 

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

 

Distribution

New Yorker

Region 1  - NTSC

Spectrum 
Region 1 - NTSC

Bandai (Japan)

Region 2  - NTSC


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Bandai / Spectrum tie

Sound:

New Yorker

Extras: New Yorker
Menu: New Yorker

 





 

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