Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Heat Shimmer Theater' or 'Heat-Haze Theatre' or 'Kagerô-za')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/suzuki.htm
Japan 1981

 

Kageroza's alternate title, Heat-Haze Theatre, perfectly illustrates the ineffable sensuality and perverse randomness of Seijun Suzuki's late-period arabesque. The middle entry in the director's Taisho Trilogy, the wantonly eccentric narrative is set in 1926 Tokyo, though, given Suzuki's contempt for coherence, it might as well take place in another planet. Playwright Matsuzaki (Yusaku Matsuda) has a series of encounters with Shinako (Michiyo Ookusu), a strange woman who materializes one day on her way to the hospital, and who may or may not be the late wife of Tamawaki (Katsuo Nakamura), Matsuzaki's shotgun-toting patron. Just as the plot seems to be solidifying into a parody of Japanese ghost tragedies, however, Suzuki tosses in Eriko Kusuda as Tamawaki's wife, a geisha who resembles Shinako except for her habit of turning blonde and blue-eyed with the moonlight. Suzuki whips nutty yet genuine eroticism around an exposed ankle or soaking-wet hair, but it is the countless, casually inexplicable details—characters dropped into deadpan tableaux via jump cuts, boldly gratuitous changes of angle, raucous Jazz Age parties, and crushed bladder cherries—that assure us that the movie will be impossible to predict from shot to shot, let alone from scene to scene. Willfully obscure as it might be, Kageroza nevertheless sheds considerable light on the arc of Suzuki's career: Where the filmmaker's more famous '60s yakuza thrillers, made under studio contract, charge regular situations with a surplus of masculinity toppling over into hysteria, the Taisho films, shot with complete freedom, are oddly feminine, absurdist yet filmed with tranquil assurance.

Excerpt of Fernando F. Croce's review at Slant Magazine located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 21st, 1981 - Tokyo

Reviews                                                                     More Reviews                                                                DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Kino Video - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

   

   

Presently only available in Arrow's Blu-ray boxset with Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za and Yumeji, in the US and the UK:

  

Also available in Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy on DVD which includes Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za and  Yumeji

              

Distribution Kino Video - Region 1 - NTSC Arrow Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:19:40  2:19:50.173 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 47,966,612,144 bytes

Feature Size: 40,901,167,872 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio Japanese 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English (ingrained) English and None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Suzuki Bio/Filmography
• Original theatrical trailer
• Original key art/press images
• Print essay on the Taisho Trilogy

DVD Release Date: March 7th, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

Disc Size: 47,966,612,144 bytes

Feature Size: 40,901,167,872 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
• New introductions to each film by critic Tony Rayns (17:22)
• Trailer (2:54)
• Vintage interview with Seijun Suzuki (25:44)
• FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the films by critic Jasper Sharp and more

Blu-ray Release Date: July 24th - August 8th, 2017
Custom Blu-ray Box

Chapters 13

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Arrow Blu-ray Region FREE - July 2017: Firstly, I am going to duplicate the comments for all three films (Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za and Yumeji) in Arrow's Blu-ray boxset.

 

This is another Blu-ray package that is being simultaneously released in both region 'A' (US) and 'B' (UK). It is the exact same content on both sides of the pond. As acknowledged on the Day of Anger Blu-ray release by Michael Brooke who informed us on Facebook:  'As the producer of Arrow's release, I can confirm first hand that the UK and US discs are absolutely identical: we only paid for one master, so there's no doubt about this at all! Which means that no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximize compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.'  We can safely presume Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy Blu-ray set to be the same situation.

Kudos to Arrow for their boxsets; Dekalog and other TV Works, their massive The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast, Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection, The Marx Brothers at Paramount, their Woody Allen boxsets, The Jacques Rivette Collection, many Japanese director sets; Kiju Yoshida: Love + Anarchism, Masaki Kobayashi's masterpiece The Human Condition set, Kinji Fukasaku's Battles Without Honor and Humanity, also Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection, Outlaw Gangster VIP: The Complete Collection, The Stray Cat Rock Collection - all on Blu-ray and fans are appreciative of the effort with this Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy Blu-ray set as well. I'm amazed at your content and thank you!

We reviewed the Kino DVD set over a decade ago - and were negative about the transfers. They were poor with improperly labeled details, burned-in subtitles, chroma, bleeding, artifacts and a generally unacceptable image - even for SD. This Blu-ray edition is a far more pleasing set - the image looks vastly superior - layered contrast - richer, tighter, brighter - mostly, more information in the frame and more some visible depth - see our captures below for more of its improvement over SD. It has obvious advantages over the lesser format. The 1080P transfers are all dual-layered with max'ed out bitrates. The quality isn't perfect (some dullness in Zigeunerweisen but each 'younger' release the colors are stronger) but is such a significantly better quality that it's like seeing the films anew. They look excellent in-motion. I'm not going to register any major complaints - after suffering with these, almost unwatchable, DVDs for the last 10 years.

All three discs represent the audio via an authentic linear PCM 1.0 mono track in 24-bit in the original Japanese. It sounds flat but carries a modicum of depth and sounds clear and without flaws. Shigeru Umebayashi (The Grandmaster, 2046, The House of Flying Daggers) composed the score for Yumeji and the wonderful Yumeji's Theme plus Kaname Kawachi credited for Zigeunerweisen. The films benefit from the lossless transfer augmenting the moods running beside the film heightening the discontinuity, eroticism and chaos. There are optional English subtitles and the Blu-ray discs are coded region FREE.

In the supplements there are new introductions to each film by critic Tony Rayns - 13.5-minutes for Zigeunerweisen, 17-minutes for Kagero-za and 24-minutes for Yumeji providing background, expert analysis, touching upon themes, the director's oeuvre, historical references and giving a wonderful overview for further appreciation of the three Suzuki films. On the Zigeunerweisen disc we get Tony Rayns on the Taisho Trilogy for an effective but too-brief 10-minutes. On the Kagero-za disc we have a, 26-minute, vintage interview with Seijun Suzuki and he is off-the-cuff and as enchanting as ever. The Yumeji Blu-ray has a 10-minute 'Making of...' which has some behind the scenes footage. Each disc has a trailer for the respective film. The first pressing only receives a booklet featuring writing on the films by critic Jasper Sharp and others.

Another top flight Blu-ray set from Arrow. Suzuki's fan base will love the ability to see these, often delirious, Fellini-esque, visually splendid, cinematic, Japanese gems in 1080P. Cinema like no other. Our highest recommendation!

***

ON THE DVD: More disappointments for the Kino Taisho Trilogy - the subtitles are again ingrained (not player generated) and are burned onto the image. It is in the incorrect aspect ratio of 1.33 (unlike the box that reports it as 1.66). Overall the transfer is tube acceptable but I suspect it is from an original analog source and it may have some black level boosting in spots. Like Zigeunerweisen there is minor color bleeding and some chroma is less evident. Audio seems fairly flat. The image appears to be progressive. Sharpness touches upon acceptable levels and  there are no worthy digital extras (text screens). I feel Kino is asking quite a bit for what they are delivering here.

***

DVDBeaver understand that these films may be in great demand by Suzuki fans, but we do not recommend the boxset or any of the individual editions based on the poor transfer quality and the excessive price for what is being offered. Hopefully, a real DVD company will releases these in a more pristine transfer very soon.

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


 

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

 

1) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Subtitle Sample

 


 

1) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

Box Cover

 

   

   

Presently only available in Arrow's Blu-ray boxset with Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za and Yumeji, in the US and the UK:

  

Also available in Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy on DVD which includes Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za and  Yumeji

              

Distribution Kino Video - Region 1 - NTSC Arrow Region FREE - Blu-ray





 

Hit Counter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!