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(aka "9 Souls" of "Nine Souls" )


directed by Toyoda Toshiaka
Japan 2003


Nine prisoners escape prison and go on a voyage to an elementary school at the foot of Mount Fuji, where cellmate number ten supposedly has hidden millions in counterfeit money. After much trouble they finally arrive, only to discover that there is no money. Disillusioned, the group now travels thru Japan, where they one by one part with the group and in their own way confront their past.

Inspired by “The Great Escape”, even though any reference seems absent, Toyoda Toshiaki, has with “9 Souls” made not only his most accomplished film to date, but also one of the best Japanese films of recent years. A surreal fable on crime and punishment.

The story is divided into two parts: the first deals with their journey to the elementary school, the second with how the group splits up and each of them, in their own way, confronts their past.

In Japan, prisoners are taught to be part of a group, that the individual is nothing, and as such, the entire first part of the film can be seen as a comment on this idea. As long as they remain a group, their remain safe, as they all are driven by one goal, the millions of counterfeit money. That the treasure is an illusion, and that it’s beneath Mount Fuji, suggests, that the system also is an illusion. Realising this, one by one, the group splits up, each of the members confronting their past in each their own way, each of them either dying or being caught by the police.

At times, reminding one of the quirky humour of Kaurismäki and the desolation of Wenders, “9 Souls” is a masterpiece, utterly unique and inventive.

Henrik Sylow

Theatrical Release: September 12, 2003 (Toronto Film Festival)

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DVD Review: ArtsMagic - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:59:30

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.15 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.


Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital Japanese
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: ArtsMagic

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commetanry by Tom Mes
• Interview with Toyoda Toshiaka (38:21)
• Interview with Toyado Toshiaka (6:38)
• Filmographies
• Biographies
• Trailer (1:58)
• Promotinal material

DVD Release Date: January 25, 2005
Keep case

Chapters 13





Comments In general, quiet a nice transfer. When playing on PC, there is quiet serious ghosting issues, but when playing on stand alone player, there are next to none, only when objects move fast.

The additional commentary begins with a, as usual, informative but slow commentary by Tom Mes, who, as usual, goes into great detail about director and actors, as well as discussing themes and motifs.

Next follows two interview with Toyoda. The first is a Japanese interview running 38 minutes, where Toyoda seems rather removed and the interviewer has quiet a hard time getting answers from him, the second an English interview running 6 minutes, where he is more engaged.

 - Henrik Sylow



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subtitle sample - captures resized to 800px width from 960px original




















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Region 1 - NTSC


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