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Kiju Yoshida: Love + Anarchism [Blu-ray]

 

Eros + Massacre (1969)                            Heroic Purgatory (1970)                               Coup D'Etat (1973)

 

 

The work of Kiju Yoshida is one of Japanese cinema's obscure pleasures. A contemporary of Nagisa Oshima (Death by Hanging, In the Realm of the Senses) and Masahiro Shinoda (Pale Flower, Assassination), Yoshida started out as an assistant to Keisuke Kinoshita before making his directorial debut at age 27. In the decades that followed he produced more than 20 features and documentaries, yet each and every one has proven difficult to see in the English-speaking world.

This collection brings together three works from the late sixties and early seventies, a loose trilogy united by their radical politics and an even more radical shooting style. Eros + Massacre, presented here in both its 169-minute theatrical version and the full-length 220-minute director's cut, tells the parallel stories of early 20th-century anarchist (and free love advocate) Sakae Osugi and a pair of student activists. Their stories interact and intertwine, resulting in a complex, rewarding work that is arguably Yoshida's masterpiece.

Heroic Purgatory pushes the dazzling cinematic language of Eros + Massacre even further, presenting a bleak but dreamlike investigation into the political discourses taking place in early seventies Japan. Coup d état returns to the past for a biopic of Ikki Kita, the right-wing extremist who sought to overthrow the government in 1936. Yoshida considered the film to be the culmination of his work, promptly retiring from feature filmmaking following its completion.

 

 

Posters

 


Titles

 

 

Box Cover

   

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Released in the US, by Arrow, on Blu-ray -  April 2017:

 

Distribution

Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Subtitles

English

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Edition Details:


• Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3,000 copies)
• New high definition digital transfers supervised by Kiju Yoshida
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations for all films
• Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM Audio on all films
• New translated English subtitles on all films
Yoshida ...or: The Explosion of the Story - a 30-minute documentary on Eros + Massacre with contributions from Yoshida and film critics Mathieu Capel and Jean Douchet (30:10)
• Introductions to Heroic Purgatory and Coup d etat by Yoshida (6:08 + 5:22)
• Newly-filmed discussions of Eros + Massacre ( Theatrical - 11:21 / Director's Cut 9:08, Heroic Purgatory 9:14, Coup d'etat 8:51) and Coup d'etat by David Desser, author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave, recorded exclusively for this release
• Scene-select commentaries by David Desser on all three films (8 for Eros Th. / 9 for Eros DC, 10 for Heroic, 7 for Coup D'Etat)

Eros + Massacre theatrical trailer (3:30)
Heroic Purgatory theatrical trailer (3:04)
• Coup d etat theatrical trailer (2:58)
• Limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm
• Illustrated 80-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the films by David Desser, Isolde Standish (author of Politics, Porn and Protest: Japanese Avant-Garde Cinema in the 1960s and 1970s) and Dick Stegewerns (author of Kiju Yoshida: 50 Years of Avant-Garde Filmmaking in Post-War Japan)

DVDs for all films (4 including Eros theatrical and DC)
 

Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the films by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp
Blu-ray Release Date: November 9th, 2015

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, the 4 films are divided on the 3 dual-layered Blu-ray discs as follows:

Blu-ray 1) The theatrical cut of Eros + Massacre (1969) running 2 3/4 hours.

Blu-ray 2) The director's cut of Eros + Massacre (1969) running 3 1/2 hours.

Blu-ray 3) Heroic Purgatory (1970) and Coup D'Etat (1973).

This is a limited edition (to only 3,000 copies) and the Blu-ray transfers are all in 1080P. There are also 4 DVDs, in the package, with the same content as the BDs.

I was very much looking forward to Eros and Massacre and watched the, 3 1/2 hour, 'Director's Cut' first. Absolute masterpiece. I was blown away with the film's complexities and obtuse narrative - I think it partially spoiled me for the shorter version - although the theatrical has superior video quality (more on that below). It evoked the cinema of Resnais, for me. I was also very impressed with Heroic Purgatory which frequently often made me think of Ingmar Bergman - another dense, visually expressive, work. I think it is the most art-infused Japanese film I have ever seen (I say that in a good way.) I am looking forward to indulging in this film again. It's also the best looking of the four. I had a bit more trouble with the more-directly political Coup D'Etat (the last film Yoshida made before taking a 13 year break from filmmaking) and I would probably benefit by watching that one again. Before going into detail - the extras were essential for me in helping follow, understand and appreciate these rarely seen works.  

Video: The three Blu-ray are all dual-layered. But even spreading the 3.5 hour Eros + Massacre Director's Cut over 47 Gig, naturally, produces a more modest bitrate and hence a weaker image than the shorter theatrical (on its own separate BD). It may also be the source. The two films are significantly different and seamless branching wouldn't have been plausible as certain scenes even seem framed differently. You can see instances where the DC doesn't handle the brightness as well as the theatrical (shower scene - exact frame match.) It's brighter and both are very textured. I trust this is the best both versions of Eros + Massacre can look for home theatre consumption. Heroic Purgatory looks impressive (the best of the three) - great contrast and strong in the 1.33:1 frame. Coup D'Etat is a bit more muddy but very consistent and entirely watchable - you can still discern that it is the higher resolution when in-motion. They are advertised as 'new high definition digital transfers supervised by Kiju Yoshida'.

Audio: is all liner PCM mono and there are no flagrant imperfections. These seem to be accurate-to-original audio transfers - flat but these scores, by Toshi Ichiyanagi (Hiroshi Teshigahara's Pitfall), Sei Ichiyanagi, are equally as unconventional as the narratives. Bizarre with tight high-ends but, no doubt, authentic representations. They work perfectly within the framework of the films. There are English subtitles for each film. The three Blu-ray discs are Region FREE - perhaps to be sold in the US at some point.

Supplements: On the first disc (Eros + Massacre theatrical) we get the 1/2 hour, French made, documentary Yoshida ...or: The Explosion of the Story - about Eros + Massacre with contributions from Yoshida and film critics Mathieu Capel and Jean Douchet. Arrow add their own supplements as well with excellent newly-filmed discussions of Eros + Massacre (Theatrical - 11:21 / Director's Cut 9:08) Heroic Purgatory (9:14), Coup d'etat (8:51) by David Desser, author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave, recorded exclusively for this release. By the way there are also introductions to Heroic Purgatory and Coup d'etat by Yoshida running over 11-minutes in total. What is most informative and highly educational are scene-select commentaries by David Desser on all three films (8 for Eros Th. / 9 for Eros DC, 10 for Heroic, 7 for Coup D'Etat). They run anywhere from over a minute to as much as a dozen and are a great way to investigate and revisit certain scenes of the film. Very valuable - a solid addition in lieu of full-length commentaries that may have been impractical. Lastly, are trailers for all three films. The limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm and a hefty illustrated 80-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the films by Desser, Isolde Standish (author of Politics, Porn and Protest: Japanese Avant-Garde Cinema in the 1960s and 1970s) and Dick Stegewerns (author of Kiju Yoshida: 50 Years of Avant-Garde Filmmaking in Post-War Japan.)

Arrow are finishing the year with some incredible, limited edition, packages (see - Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats: Two Adaptations by Sergio Martino & Lucio Fulci). This is pure cinephile gold. Those who appreciate art-house or Japanese Cinema will have their hands full with this beauty. If you are keen - don't wait for it to go OOP. Get it for yourself for Christmas - well spent money! Very strongly recommended!    

Gary W. Tooze

 

 


Menus (Disc 1 - Eros + Massacre - Theatrical) Blu-ray


(Disc 2 - Eros + Massacre - Director's Cut) Blu-ray

Disc 3 - Heroic Purgatory - Coup D'Etat) Blu-ray

 


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

 

(aka "Erosu purasu gyakusatsu" or "Eros + Massacre" )

 

directed by Yoshishige Yoshida
Japan 19
69

 

The movie begins with Eiko interviewing Noe Itō's daughter Mako in order to shed some light onto Noe's life. After that, we see a glimpse into Eiko and Wada's lives. Eiko believes in Ōsugi's principles of free love and the first time we meet her (after the cold opening), she's making love with a film director but gets interrupted by Wada, so later she finishes herself off by masturbating in the shower. She's also connected with an underground prostitution ring and is questioned by a police inspector. Meanwhile, Wada spends most of his time philosophizing with Eiko and playing with fire. The two sometimes engage in reenactments of lives of famous revolutionaries and martyrs.

Their story is interwoven with the retelling of Ōsugi's later years and death. The scene where Itsuko tries to take Ōsugi's life is retold several times with differing results. The 1920s scenes in general follow a different pace than the 1960s scenes, both musically and stylistically.

The story sometimes delves into surreal imagery, most notably the scene of two football teams playing a match over Ōsugi's ashes, or the segment where Eiko gets to interview Noe herself.

Excerpt from the Wikipedia located HERE

Bitrate

Theatrical:

Bitrate

Director's Cut:

  Theatrical Director's Cut

Runtime:

2:45:15.989

3:36:25.931 

Disc Size:

48,254,828,148 bytes

48,314,885,423 bytes

Feature Size:

44,711,638,848 bytes

47,566,972,992 bytes

Video Bitrate:

31.88 Mbps

25.99 Mbps

Audio:

LPCM Audio Japanese 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Select Scene Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

LPCM Audio Japanese 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Select Scene Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

1) Arrow (theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow (Director's Cut) Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow (theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow (Director's Cut) Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow (theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow (Director's Cut) Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow (theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow (Director's Cut) Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

1) Arrow (theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow (Director's Cut) Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow (theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow (Director's Cut) Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 
More Theatrical Cut Captures
 

 

More Director's Cut Captures

 


Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Released in the US, by Arrow, on Blu-ray -  April 2017:

 

Distribution

Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

(aka "Rengoku eroica" or "Heroic Purgatory" )

 

directed by Yoshishige Yoshida
Japan 197
0

 

Little exists, critically speaking, on the subject of Yoshishige Yoshida’s “Heroic Purgatory”. It is a singular experience in that it has never been the subject of much acclaim or criticism. Film sites boast very few, if any, reviews. You will not find its name amongst the more famous Japanese cinematic works. Once one has seen the film, that is all there is. There is no chance to read a critical evaluation and put the pieces together with the help of a more wise, trusted and noted critic. The film extrapolates no farther than itself and its viewer.

This is all positively refreshing, as is the work itself, an experience like none other. It flows and looks and feels like none other film. Just to explain what it is about is a challenge, but not for the traditional reasons. This is not a case of jump cuts matching unrelated imagery, surrealism at its most hypnotic and hallucinogenic heights. No, rather it is a meditative and engrossing piece that flows with passion and vigor and a sense of purpose. Its individual scenes seem to work alone as their own perfectly composed entities. The real challenge lies in finding the strain that connects them. I do not profess to have truly achieved this.

Excerpt from the Filmstatic Blog located HERE

 

Bitrate:

Runtime:

1:58:07.121

Disc Size:

49,419,532,547 bytes

Feature Size:

23,651,712,576 bytes

Video Bitrate:

23.49 Mbps

Audio:

LPCM Audio Japanese 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Select Scene Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(aka "Kaigenrei" or "Coup D'Etat" )

 

directed by Yoshishige Yoshida
Japan 197
3

 

Kaigenrei is the 16th feature of Japanese film-maker Yoshishige Yoshida and it represents a continuation and at the same time a sort of departure from his usual themes. The film, the third in the director’s Radicalism Trilogy, is known to the Western audience both by the title of Martial Law (its literal translation) and Coup d'Etat. At the time of its release it was generally well-received by critics and was chosen as Japan’s entry to the 46th Academy Awards in the foreign film category, even though it wasn’t accepted by the Academy.

Yoshida’s film is based on the events related to the infamous February 26 incident that was staged in 1936, with particular emphasis on the involvement of Ikki Kita and his ideology. Kita’s influence at the time of the incident was considered crucial, despite his connection with the rebellion and its perpetrators was in fact largely indirect. He was tried and sentenced to death on the 14th of August of the year following the attempted coup.

Excerpt from Denkikan located HERE

Bitrate:

 

Runtime:

1:49:51.418  

Disc Size:

49,419,532,547 bytes

Feature Size:

22,855,591,296 bytes

Video Bitrate:

24.49 Mbps

Audio:

LPCM Audio Japanese 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Select Scene Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 


Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Released in the US, by Arrow, on Blu-ray -  April 2017:

 

Distribution

Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray



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