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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Funeral Parade of Roses' or 'Bara no soretsu')

Directed by Toshio Matsumoto
Japan 1969

 

A feverish collision of avant-garde aesthetics and grind-house shocks (not to mention a direct influence on Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange), Funeral Parade of Roses takes us on an electrifying journey into the nether-regions of the late-'60s Tokyo underworld. In Toshio Matsumoto's controversial debut feature, seemingly nothing is taboo: neither the incorporation of visual flourishes straight from the worlds of contemporary graphic-design, painting, comic-books, and animation; nor the unflinching depiction of nudity, sex, drug-use, and public-toilets. But of all the "transgressions" here on display, perhaps one in particular stands out the most: the film's groundbreaking and unapologetic portrayal of Japanese gay subculture.

Cross-dressing club-kid Eddie (played by real-life transvestite entertainer extraordinaire Peter, famed for his role as Kyoami the Fool in Akira Kurosawa's Ran) vies with a rival drag-queen (Osamu Ogasawara) for the favours of drug-dealing cabaret-manager Gonda (Yoshio Tsuchiya, himself a Kurosawa player who appeared in such films as Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and High and Low). Passions escalate and blood begins to flow — before all tensions are released in a jolting climax that prefigures by nearly thirty years Tsai Ming-liang's similarly scandalous The River.

With its mixture of purely narrative sequences and documentary footage, Funeral Parade of Roses comes to us from a moment when cinema set itself to test, and even eradicate, the boundaries between fiction and reality, desire and experience; consequently, the film shares a kinship with such other 1969 works as Masahiro Shinoda's Double Suicide and Ingmar Bergman's A Passion [The Passion of Anna]. Yet Matsumoto achieves a zig-zag modulation between pathos and hilarity that makes his picture utterly unique: a filmic howl in the face of social, moral, and artistic convention. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Toshio Matsumoto's Funeral Parade of Roses for the first time outside of Japan on any home video format.

 

  Posters

Theatrical Release: October, 1969

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Comparison:

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC vs. Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

  

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema - spine # 32 - Region 2 - NTSC

Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:44:40  1:45:04.875   1:45:03.833   
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.8 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,412,291,176 bytes

Feature: 23,090,621,376 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,920,070,949 bytes

Feature: 32,602,930,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.85 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate Cinelicious: Blu-ray

Bitrate BFI: Blu-ray

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 

DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 1031 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1031 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1623 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1623 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

LPCM Audio Japanese 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka - Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Transfer from the director's personal print
• Full length audio commentary by the director Toshio MATSUMOTO (in Japanese with English subtitles)
• Video interview with director Toshio MATSUMOTO (23 minutes)
Promotional material gallery
• Original trailer
• 36-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by Jim O'Rourke

DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 17

Release Information:
Studio: Cinelicious Pics
 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,412,291,176 bytes

Feature: 23,090,621,376 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by Chris D.
U.S. Theatrical Trailer (2:17)
Original 1969 Japanese Theatrical Trailer (3:31)

Blu-ray 2

8 newly remastered avant-garde short films by Toshio Matsumoto:

1962 The Weavers of Nishijin (24:55)
1963 The Song of Stone (24:29)
1969 Ecstasis (11:08)
1971 Metastasis (8:09)
1972 Expansion - Kakuchou (14:07)
1973 Mona Lisa (3:02)
1975 Siki Soku Ze Ku (7:47)
1975 Atman (11:50)

• New essay by Hirofumi Sakamoto, Director of the Postwar Japan Moving Image Archive


Blu-ray Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters:8

Release Information:
Studio: BFI
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,920,070,949 bytes

Feature: 32,602,930,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.85 Mbps

s

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by author and film historian Chris Desjardins (Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film)
Original theatrical trailer (1969 - 3:31)
Restoration trailer (2017 - 2:17)
Blu-ray 2
Eight restored avant-garde short films from director Toshio Matsumoto
• Nishijin (1961, 24:55)
• The Song of Stone (1963, 24:29)
• Ecstasis (1969, 11:08)
• Metastasis (1971, 8:09)
Expansion (1972, 14:07)
• Mona Lisa (1973, 3:02)
• Siki Soku Z Ku (1975, 7:47)
• Atman (1975, 11:49)

***FIRST PRESSING ONLY*** Fully illustrated booklet with essays by Jim O Rourke and director Toshio Matsumoto and full film credits


Blu-ray Release Date: May 18th, 2020
Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: BFI - Region 'B' - two Blu-rays May 2020': BFI's 2020 Blu-ray transfer is from the same source as the Cinelicious Pic's 2017 Blu-ray with a couple of differences. Firstly, the BFI is in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio where the US version clocks-in about 1.38.5:1 with the UK 1080P showing slightly more information in the top of the frame. The BFI is on a dual-layered disc with a 40% higher bitrate - improving marginally in the stills but noticeable to the discerning when the image is in-motion.

Audio-wise, BFI go liner PCM with a more robust transfer - against showing marginal superiority when compared to the Cinelicious. Both have subtitles (in different fonts - see sample below) while the BFI Blu-ray is Region 'B'-locked.

Supplements (aside from the included booklet) are exactly the same - even allocated the same on the two Blu-rays. To quote below: "... a commentary by Chris D. (born Chris Desjardins; January 15, 1952) is a punk poet, rock critic, singer, author (Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film), actor and filmmaker. He is best known as the lead singer and founder of the early Los Angeles punk/deathrock band the Flesh Eaters. He provides a great analysis detailing many interesting aspects of Matsumoto themes and intentions. He knows his tuff and the discussion has immense value. One the first Blu-ray are also US and Japanese trailers.

On the second Blu-ray we get eight newly remastered avant-garde short films by Toshio Matsumoto made from 1962 to 1975. They run short of 2-hours in total but fans of Avant-garde will certainly enjoy this bonus treat. The package has a liner notes booklet with a new essay by Hirofumi Sakamoto, Director of the Postwar Japan Moving Image Archive." BFI add a - first pressing only - fully illustrated booklet with essays by Jim O Rourke and director Toshio Matsumoto and full film credits.

BOTTOM LINE: this BFI Blu-ray is almost the exact same release as the Cinelicious 2017 BD - except the feature is on a dual-layered disc - with a marginally superior image - both in-motion (higher bitrate) and showing slightly more information in the frame via the correct 1.37:1 aspect ratio. This 2-disc version is limited to 3000 copies. It's the best, but for some, may not be in significant enough ways. This will easily go out-of-print so those keen and Region 'B'ers may wish to indulge, obtaining the new book, before it is gone.   

***

ADDITION: Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray November 17': Cinelicious Pic's 2017 Blu-ray transfer is advertised as "A key work of the Japanese New Wave and of queer cinema, FUNERAL PARADE has been restored in 4k from the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements for this 2017 re-release. " The image can speak for itself in the screen captures - bright, crisp, wonderful grain. The frame may have shifted to the left and down a shade. Contrast is the notable improvement in the higher resolution. The 4K-restoration looks very impressive beside the SD.

The film's audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master mono track (24-bit) in the original Japanese. There are effect sounds in the form of various beeps and often unusual computer-like noises. The score is by, self-taught, Jji Yuasa (Nagisa shima's Pleasures of the Flesh, Jz Itami's The Funeral) which is very electronic-based plus there are also the bar songs and some may notice Jacques Offenbach's Orphe aux enfers and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor sped-up. It all sounds flat but crisp but strong - dialogue clear. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.

Cinelicious Pics add a commentary by Chris D. (born Chris Desjardins; January 15, 1952) is a punk poet, rock critic, singer, author (Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film), actor and filmmaker. He is best known as the lead singer and founder of the early Los Angeles punk/deathrock band the Flesh Eaters. He provides a great analysis detailing many interesting aspects of Matsumoto themes and intentions. He knows his tuff and the discussion has immense value. One the first Blu-ray are also US and Japanese trailers.

On the second Blu-ray we get eight newly remastered avant-garde short films by Toshio Matsumoto made from 1962 to 1975. They run short of 2-hours in total but fans of Avant-garde will certainly enjoy this bonus treat. The package has a liner notes booklet with a new essay by Hirofumi Sakamoto, Director of the Postwar Japan Moving Image Archive.

This is an amazing package - pure joy for Avant-Garde fans. The 4K-restoration looks fabulous - providing a whole new viewing experience with stellar a/v. The additional shorts and insightful commentary make it essential for aficionados of the genre. Very strongly recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: Stellar looking progressive transfer from Eureka Masters of Cinema on this rare, clandestine and taboo film. Remarkable that the feature and extras fit compactly on a single-layered disc. Contrast and sharpness are at premium levels. Audio is mono, but clear, consistent and all dialogue (quite minimalist in the film) audible. The print used is from the director's personal collection. 

There is an insightful audio commentary by the director (in Japanese with English subtitles) and a 20 minute interview. Matsumoto discusses some of the non-standard production methods and plot details, pacing and experimental tonal shifts used.  A 36-page liner notes booklet is another supplement featuring a new essay by Jim O'Rourke.

Overall this is another excellent DVD from MoC - the UK's Criterion equivalent.

NOTE: Although our captures omitted them - there are some graphic scenes in this film.

Gary W. Tooze

Avant-Garde DVDs as discussed in Daryl Chin's article At Home and Abroad - Some Views From the Avant-Garde on DVD HERE

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DVD Menus


 

Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


Blu-ray 2

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray 2

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - TOP

2) Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - TOP

Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - NTSC - TOP

Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

  

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema - spine # 32 - Region 2 - NTSC

Cinelicious Pics - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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