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(aka "The Stranger from Afar" )


directed by Takashi Shimizu
Japan 2004


Shot on digital video in a mere eight days with his filmmaking mentor in the lead, JU-ON: THE GRUDGE director Takashi Shimizu's MAREBITO stars Shinya Tsukamoto (director of VITAL and A SNAKE OF JUNE) as Matsouka, a freelance cameraman fascinated by fear. When he captures the gory suicide of a seemingly deranged man in a subway on video, Matsouka becomes obsessed with finding out what the dead man saw (and was apparently still seeing when he killed himself) that terrified him so. Returning to the subway, he discovers an entrance to the subterranean tunnels beneath the subway which lead him further into the underground developments dating back from the war and then farther back into further developments going back into history and believes that his growing fear has allowed him to pass into the Netherworld where he runs into the dead man (who is unaware of his own gory suicide). Venturing farther into the tunnels he comes across an ancient city at its center where he discovers the chained body of a nude vampire woman. He brings her back with him to the surface and keeps her in his apartment (with his own cameras trained on her while he is out scrounging for videography work). He takes the woman back to his apartment. By day he looks for work - and checks in on her through his phone (having wired his entire apartment with video cameras) - and by night he looks for human food for his new roommate.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 23 October 2004 (Japan)

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DVD Review: Palisades Tartan (Tartan Asia Extreme) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:31:39

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.10 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 Japanese DTS 5.1 (half-bitrate); Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1; Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Takashi Shimizuq (16:9; 22:52)
• Interview with actor Shinya Tsukamoto (16:9; 12:59)
• Interview with producer Hiroshi Takashi (16:9; 16:30)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:47)

DVD Release Date: March 14, 2006
Amaray in Cardboard Slipcase

Chapters 20



Shot on Digital Betacam (and winner of the Digital Cinema award at the 61st Venice Film Festival), the transfer is sharp with some intentional video grain as befits a digital production about digital technology (some scenes shot by the character's mini-DV camera unfold in blown-out, auto-exposed, auto-focused MiniDV quality and may have been post-produced to look that way). The transfer is interlaced and combing is evident but the "DV footage" (from the protagonist's camera and other surveillance cameras and camera phones) has been treated so that the scan lines are more prominent.


Audio is available in enveloping DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and a good stereo downmix. Unlike some Tartan titles, the English translation was either well-done to begin with (likely since the film had international festival showings) or Tartan gave them some proofing. Extras consist of interviews with director Shimizu, star Tsukamoto (a director in his own right), producer Takahashi, and the film's theatrical trailer (as well as the usual Tartan Asia Extreme trailer reel). I don't have the specs for the non-English friendly Japanese R2 release so I don't know what extras may have been omitted but Tartan's package is solid (more so because of the prices for which it can be found both used and new).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC


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