(aka 'Oodishon' or 'Audition' or '‘dishon')

directed by Takashi Miike
Japan 2000

A widowed TV producer is encouraged by his teenage son to remarry before he gets too old. Unable to find anyone suitable, he decides to hold auditions for a false movie in order to test out potential wives. He thinks he may have found the one he is looking for when he auditions a former ballerina, but she seems too good to be true and an investigation into her past reveals a horrific secret.

****

Audition is the perfectly paradoxical movie experience, one that leaves me grasping for superlatives while simultaneously gasping for breath. It puts me in a difficult spot as well, because you need to be warned about the film’s subject matter, yet to reveal too much is to dilute the film’s effectiveness. The film’s focus is on the peculiar relationship formed between the middle-aged widower Aoyama (played by Ishibashi with a spud-like confused resignation) and Asami, a mysterious woman he is drawn to and becomes involved with.

One of the beauties of Audition is that it appears to allow us to fall back on our comfortable assumptions, that this nice man and good father deserves to find his perfect mate, then throws them back at us like a thousand poison-dipped darts. The key to unlocking Miike’s agenda is in the film’s transitional phase, between the initial subdued character study and final duck-beneath-your-chair horror, where we apparently learn the “villain’s” back story (I say apparently because one can make an argument that the bulk of the second half of the film take’s place inside the distempered mind of the male protagonist). This information centres on Asami’s painful childhood history, forcing a re-evaluation of the film’s point-of-view, and necessitating a re-jigging of its apparently regressive thesis. Suddenly, the film’s implicitly paranoid meditation on the changing role of women in a society that remains gender-regressive must be assessed in a new light. However, while never less than riveting, the results are often more than we can stomach. While admiring the means Miike uses to get our attention, I often found myself looking at the startling cinematic compositions through hands raised in horror at what I was asked to behold.

Excerpt from Dan Jardine review at ApolloGuide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 28th, 2000 - Netherlands (Rotterdam Film Festival)

Reviews          More Reviews         DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Universe - Region 3 - NTSC vs.  Chimera / Ventura - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Shout! Factory (2-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman and Ole Kofoed and Henrik Sylow  for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Tartan (CE) - Region 0 - PAL LEFT

2) Universe - Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Chimera / Ventura - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory (2-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Tartan

Region 0 - PAL

Universe (Hong Kong)

Region 3  - NTSC

Ventura
Region 1 - NTSC
Shout! Factory
Runtime 1:50:49 (4% PAL speedup) 1:55:20 1:55:24 1:55:35.178
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.77 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate: 4.56 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate: 6.17 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  23,971,383,360 bytes

Feature: 23,537,461,248 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Tartan

 

Bitrate:

Universe

 

Bitrate:

Chimera / Ventura

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

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

Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0

DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 2002 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 2002 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Japanese 1219 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 1219 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, None English, Chinese or none. English or none. English (non-removable).
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Miike on Miike: Interview at IFFR 2002 (11:25)
• Original theatrical trailer (1:21)
• Miike Takashi trailer reel
• Liner notes by Joe Cornish

DVD Release Date: June 28, 2004
thin case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Universe

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen (Letterboxed)- 1.85:1

 

Edition Details:

• Trailer (1:42).

Keep Case

Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: Chimera / Ventura

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen (letterboxed) - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Takashi Miike dubbed/translated in English (37:20).
• Interview with director Takashi Miike from the American Cinematheque Theatre (23:47).
• Tour of Egyptian Theatre (8:07).
• Photo gallery.
• International and Japanese Trailers for Audition.
• 5 additional trailers for other releases from Chimera.
• Miike Bio/Filmography.
• Liner notes by Chris D.

Keep Case

Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Shout! Factory

Aspect Ratio: - 1.78:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  23,971,383,360 bytes

Feature: 23,537,461,248 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Vide

Edition Details:

• Takashi Miike introduction (1:18)
• Commentary by Takashi Miike and screenwriter Daisuke Tengan -subtitled in English
Disc 2 (DVD)

• Interviews with Ryo Ishibashi (16:17), Eihi Shiina, (20:07) Renji Ishibashi (20:53) and Ren ‘sugi (16:23) with optional English subtitles Total: 1:13:39
• International Trailer (1:16)

• Japanese Trailer (1:46)

• 8-page booklet with essay
p

Blu-ray Release Date: October 6th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 12

 

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

The Japan Journals : 1947-2004,

by  Donald Richie

The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film
by Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp

Kon Ichikawa (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs)

by James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario

Shohei Imamura (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 1)
by James Quandt
Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema (Midland Book, Mb 469)
by David Desser
The Films of Akira Kurosawa by Donald Ritchie

Tokyo Story

by Yasujiro Ozu, Kogo Noda, Donald Richie, Eric Klestadt

Ozu by Donald Ritchie

A Hundred Years of Japanese Film by Donald Richie

Check out more in "The Library"

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION Shout! Factory Blu-ray - September 2009: This has always looked problematic on digital - largely in part to the extensive grainy look of the film. The Blu-ray is in a class by itself compared to the DVDs though. Color (immensely), detail and visibility of the heavy grain structure are a vast improvement. The intentionally gritty visuals never translated well to the SD-DVD medium but even though the single-layered Blu-ray does a far superior job with the gloss-free style - noise is still apparent at times - creating a chroma-like anomaly in a few scenes. Those anticipating a pristine shiny image will no doubt be left wanting. Overall though, the textured look is, by far, a more valid representation of the original intended appearance. The 1080P transfer appears to be from the same source as the Chimera edition with the same light damage/speckles.

NOTE: Cliff tells us in email: "The Chimera release was a master from a print. The Lionsgate release was done with the Tartan PAL master and the new Shout release was master in HD from the inter-negative. As you may know, prints are struck from the inter-negative, so that is why you are seeing the same markings. The film company wouldn’t send the negative to the U.S. so we had to use the inter-negative." (Thanks Cliff!)

NOTE: Eric tell us us in email "Just to let you know, in between the Ventura R1 non-anamorphic DVD of AUDITION and the Shout Factory Blu-Ray, there was also a LionsGate SD-DVD release that was anamorphic but interlaced. I think most of the extras were the same." (thanks Eric!)

Audio too takes the leap forward with three Japanese track options - a DTS-HD Master 5.0 at 2002 kbps, a less robust TrueHD 5.0 at 1219 kbps and a linear PCM 2.0 track at 2304 Kbps. I sampled all but settled for the blander stereo mix for no specific reason. I should note that these audio options cannot be changed on the fly with the 'audio' button of your remote - you must utilize the Pop-up menu. Then you can make another choice without disturbing the film's flow. I couldn't find a way to totally remove the white English subtitles. My Momitsu has identified this as being Region 'A'-locked.

Supplements have a brief introduction to the film presentation by Takashi Miike (1:18) and a new commentary recorded in Tokyo - May 2009 with the director and screenwriter Daisuke Tengan. It is in Japanese with English subtitles but they remove the feature's subs and audio (boo!). The discussion is quite good - recalling that it never felt like they were making a 'horror' film when they were filming Audition - and often how meetings during production didn't focus on specific details. There is a second, single-layered DVD, disc which includes interviews with cast Ryo Ishibashi (16:17), Eihi Shiina, (20:07) Renji Ishibashi (20:53) and Ren ‘sugi (16:23) in Japanese with optional English subtitles - as well as two trailers - the 'International' and the Japanese (both in widescreen letterboxed). Lastly you get an 8-page booklet with photos and an essay.

For less than $18 - I think this is a great buy although the disc authoring is imperfect. I had forgotten what a strangely compelling film Audition is - a horror that often feels more humanistic with the eventual gore being that much more impacting. It's a great storyline - with unforgettable moments. This Blu-ray is the best looking and sounding presentation of the film for your home theater. It ends up being a tremendous difference from DVD.       

Gary Tooze

ADDITION (Tartan - July -04): Where the old Tartan DVD suffered from an incredible bad image, the new Tartan DVD is a vast improvement, with a balanced color scheme, which is more softer and clearer next to the Chimera DVD. The Tartan frame differs slightly (0,7% to the right) from the Chimera.

The DTS track on the Tartan DVD is surprisingly flat. While the normal stereo track is quiet effective and the 5.1 track is very special, the DTS lacks definition in the rears.

The interview with Miike is a nice addition. The questions are standard, but Miike's answers give us a good feel about his approach to film and directing. As a trivia note: The interview was held at the Nordam room at the Westin hotel in Rotterdam.

 - Henrik Sylow

Chimera vs Universe DVDs: Region 1 disc has better picture, but unfortunately it's not anamorphic. It's also sharper than Mei Ah disc. The added extras - an interview with the director and a commentary for the last 40 minutes -makes Chimera disc a clear choice between two releases.

 Gregory Meshman

 


DVD Menus

(Tartan (CE) - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. Universe - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs.  - Chimera / Ventura - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 
 

 

 

Blu-ray Extras

 

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Tartan (CE) - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Universe - Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Chimera / Ventura - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory (2-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 


1) Tartan (CE) - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Universe - Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Chimera / Ventura - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory (2-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Tartan (CE) - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Universe - Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Chimera / Ventura - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory (2-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Tartan (CE) - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Universe - Region 3 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Chimera / Ventura - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory (2-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Chimera / Ventura

Sundry

Booms slowly sneaks into the frame Cue Blip Markers are visible

 



 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...