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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

( aka "An Actor's Revenge' or 'Yukinojo henge" or 'Revenge of a Kabuki Actor' or 'The Revenge of Ukeno-Jo' or 'The Revenge of Yuki-No-Jo' )

directed by Kon Ichikawa
Japan 1963

'An Actor's Revenge,' Kon Ichikawa's 1963 film is an obvious divergence from anything he had done previously. A deeply artistic film steeped in rich cultural tradition and imagery. It was one of those films that I felt was better than it actually appeared, if that makes any sense. The immense amount of work and detail put into it are obvious. The shots fully exercising the full scope of the lens and many memorable and beautiful moments caught with splashed color on dense backgrounds. 'An Actor's Revenge' did capture me for a spell and I am certain that as I watch it again that will only deepen. It was unlike most other films I have seen with subtle moments reminding me of the Korean film 'Chunhyang' with its theatrical roots and narrative.

***

A uniquely prolific and chameleonic figure of world cinema, Kon Ichikawa delivered a burst of stylistic bravado with this intricate tale of betrayal and retribution. Set in the cloistered world of nineteenth-century kabuki theater, the film charts a female impersonatorís attempts to avenge the deaths of his parents, who were driven to insanity and suicide by a trio of corrupt men. Ichikawa takes the conventions of melodrama and turns them on their head, bringing the heroís fractured psyche to life in boldly experimental widescreen compositions infused with kaleidoscopic color, pop-art influences, and meticulous choreography. Anchored by a magnificently androgynous performance by Kazuo Hasegawa, reprising a role he had played on-screen three decades earlier, An Actorís Revenge is an eye-popping examination of how the illusions of art intersect with life.

 

Poster

 

Release Date: January 13th, 1963

Reviews                                                   More Reviews

 

Comparison:

BFI  Region 2 - PAL vs. Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) BFI Region 2 - PAL  LEFT

2) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

  

 

 

Also coming to Blu-ray, in the UK, by BFI, in March of 2018:

 

Distribution BFI  Region 2 - PAL Animeigo - Region 1- NTSC Criterion Collection (spine #912)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:48:32 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:53:04 1:53:39.938
Video 2.35:1.0 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
PAL 1024x576 25.00 f/s
2.35:1.0 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.67 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 48,280,578,231 bytes

Feature Size: 33,974,710,272 bytes

Average Bitrate: 35.72 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4-AVC

Bitrate:

BFI

Bitrate:

 Animeigo

Bitrate:

 Criterion Blu-ray

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)  Original or restored - Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio Japanese 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English (non-removable) English (Full, Limited or captions only) - yellow or green, None English, none
Features Release Information:  BFI

Aspect Ratios: - 2.35:1



DVD Encoding: Region 2 PAL
Layers: Dual


Extras

12 ChaptersStatic screen Ichikawa biographyWeblink to BFI website

DVD Release Date: January 27th, 2003
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information: Animeigo

Aspect Ratios: - 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• trailer
• program notes
• image gallery
• DVD credits

DVD Release Date: October 14th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 30
 

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

 

Aspect Ratio:

Disc Size: 48,280,578,231 bytes

Feature Size: 33,974,710,272 bytes

Average Bitrate: 35.72 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4-AVC

 

Edition Details:
Rare 1999 Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Kon Ichikawa, conducted by film critic Yuki Mori (57:59)
New interview with critic, filmmaker, and festival programmer Tony Rayns (13:26)
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow and a 1955 article by Ichikawa on the beginnings of his work in an anamorphic widescreen format
 

Blu-ray  Release Date: February 13th, 2018
Transparent 
Blu-ray Case
 
Chapters:
17

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray January 2018: The Criterion is from a "New 4K digital restoration", and it's a massive improvement over the older DVDs. The 1080P with max'ed out bitrate has far richer, deeper, colors, the image is darker and detail significantly rises. There is depth and may show a sliver less information in the 2.35:1 frame, but the differences are night and day between HD and SD. Grain textures are prevalent. This is, presumably from a new restoration as it is also being released in Region 'B' by BFI, HERE.

For the audio Criterion use an authentic linear PCM mono track in the original Japanese language. There are effects but the music is of prime effectiveness for the film experience.  Tamekichi Mochizuki (Ugetsu Monogatori, Sansho the Bailiff) and Masao Yagi - a Japanese pianist devoted to American jazz with over 100 film composure credits - are credited with the, unique, score. It sounds flat and even in the uncompressed transfer. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Criterion include a rare, 58-minute, 1999 Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Kon Ichikawa, conducted by film critic Yuki Mori (author of The Films of Kon Ichikawa) - which may be the same one on Masters of Cinema's KoKoro DVD. It deals with the beginnings of the director's involvement in cinema. There is also a new, 13-minute, interview with critic, filmmaker, and festival programmer Tony Rayns who examines the themes and visual style of An Actor's Revenge and places the film in the context of Kon Itchikawa's oeuvre, The package contains a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow and a 1955 article by Ichikawa on the beginnings of his work in an anamorphic widescreen format.

Kon Ichikawa is a true artist and although most in the West know him for Tokyo Olympiad, he left a rich, diverse, tapestry of cinema of which An Actor's Revenge is a key film. It is brilliant filmmaking and the Criterion Blu-ray gets our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Animeigo - NTSC - October 08': Short story is that the BFI looks brightness boosted but has more detail than the Animeigo. To me the single-layered Animeigo looks vertically stretched a bit too and shows more isolated damage - but it is really only on a frame-by-frame basis. The NTSC edition shows a shade more information in the frame and is marginally wider although has a slim black border circumventing the frame slightly limiting horizontal resolution.

Animeigo are big on offering subtitle options (see our comparison of their DVD of Imamura's Ballad of Narayama) and you get a choice of dialogue, captions or both with a separation of colors (yellow and green) - see sample below.

Animeigo also give an option of original or restored audio and the restored did seem to improve over the older BFI transfer.

Extras, although mostly static, lean to Animeigo.

The BFI is almost double the price of the Animeigo which, despite its flaws, seems to have had some real effort put into the DVD production although dual-layering would have helped the presentation. Still I'll repeat that I wish this was Criterion.

***

ON THE BFI: Although not perfect image quality, it s quite strong at times. A little hazy although anamorphic. If I was to grade the image out of 10 I would give it 7.0 . Not bad, but room for improvement. There was strobbing evident in a few scenes (bright kimonos) and even in italicized sub-titles ( which are non removable English by the way ). The Extras aren't worth discussing... a few static screen on Ichikawa's life and a web link to the BFI site. The sound was good with no hiss or crackling but frankly I was expecting more considering the high interest in this release. Still, I guess beggars can't be choosers especially in the artistic DVD sense, so I thank BFI for putting this out, but again wish it was Criterion. 


DVD Menu

(BFI Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

 
 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Supplements



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

 

Screen Captures

 

Damage on the Animeigo

 

1) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Subtitle samples

 

1) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

1) BFI Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) BFI Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) BFI Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) BFI Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) BFI Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) BFI Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Hit Counter


Box Covers

 

  

 

 

Also coming to Blu-ray, in the UK, by BFI, in March of 2018:

 

Distribution BFI  Region 2 - PAL Animeigo - Region 1- NTSC Criterion Collection (spine #912)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

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