Admittedly I’m really not a fan of surrealism cinema, not that the ideas go over my head (albeit some do) but often times it comes across pretentious and worse yet, outright dull. Even so, Kiju Yoshida’s visuals are at least something to behold.
Kiju Yoshida: Love+Anarchism
— Eros+Massacre / Heroic Purgatory / Coup D’ Etat —
Arrow Academy | NR – 215 min. / 164 min. / 110 min. / 118 min. – $99.95 | May 9, 2017
Date Published: 05/15/2017 | Author: The Movieman
ABOUT THIS RELEASE
The work of Kijû Yoshida is one of Japanese cinema’s obscure pleasures. A contemporary of Nagisa Ôshima (Death by Hanging, In the Realm of the Senses) and Masahiro Shinoda (Pale Power: 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 164-minutes theatrical version and the full-length 215-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 on 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’etat 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.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
|This 7-disc set comes housed in a sturdy slip case. The “Director’s Cut” and “Theatrical Version” of Eros+Massacre comes in their own HD Keep Case while Heroic Purgatory and Coup d’Etat are on the same Blu-ray disc together. Each film are accompanied with a DVD Copy. Inside the larger case is a very nice 80-page essay and photograph booklet.
Eros+Massacre: Director’s Cut
Commentaries by David Desser (TRT 51:29; HD) – Here Desser gives insights into nine scenes from the Director’s Cut. Really wish a “Play Option” was available…
Eros+Massacre: Theatrical Version
Yoshida Or: The Explosion of the Story (30:08; HD) is a new and well made documentary look at filmmaker Kijû Yoshida with comments by film critics Mathieu Capel and Jean Douchet. If you have any interest in either Yoshida or Japanese filmmaking, this is well worth a watch.
Introduction by David Desser (11:21; HD) returns to introduce the theatrical version.
Commentaries by David Desser (TRT 57:09; HD) – is more of the same, offering thoughts on eight scenes.
Theatrical Trailer (3:30; HD)
Introduction by David Desser (9:14; HD) is back chatting about Heroic Purgatory.
Commentaries by David Desser (TRT 47:14; HD) discusses 10 scenes from the film.
Theatrical Trailer (3:03; HD)
Coup D’Etat offers pretty much the same features:
Introduction by David Desser (8:50; HD)
Commentaries by David Desser (TRT 35:57; HD) looks at 7 scenes.
Theatrical Trailer (2:58; HD)
VIDEO – 4.25/5
|Eros+Massacre, both the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version, are presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition culled from new digital transfers. Same goes for Heroic Purgatory and Coup D’ Etat which are each shown in their original 1.33 full frame versions and also have new 1080p HD transfers. All three films are in black and white with decent dark levels though some shots, on purpose, do look washed out. Detail however does look sharp and I didn’t really notice any major instances of artifacts, aliasing, dust marks or scratches.|
AUDIO – 3.5/5
|All three films come with Japanese language PCM Mono tracks, all of which aren’t anything special, but considering the source and age of these films, more than satisfactory. Each of these provide clean dialogue levels and even ambient noises come through that center channel rather well.|
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, admittedly I’m really not a fan of surrealism cinema, not that the ideas go over my head (albeit some do) but often times it comes across pretentious and worse yet, outright dull. Even so, Kiju Yoshida’s visuals are at least something to behold and this 3-film set released through Arrow Academy offers up excellent video and audio transfers and a nice selection of bonus features.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.