On November 9th courtesy of Arrow Academy a new box set will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD devoted to one of Japan’s greatest and, some would say unsung, filmmakers.
The box set contains Eros+Massacre, in the theatrical version and the directors cut, as well as Heroic Purgatory and Coup d’état. All these films are being made available for the first time on home video with English subtitles.
Arrow films have used masters supervised and approved by Yoshida himself, in an attempt to bring three of his finest films to a wider audience. The limited edition boxed-set will also come with a host of extras, including introductions by Yoshida and extensive scene-specific commentaries and introductions by David Desser, the author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave. Desser also contributes to the 80-page perfect-bound book alongside fellow authorities on Japanese cinema of the 60s and 70s, Isolde Standish and Dick Stegewerns.
What you get:
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to watch these movies. The director’s cut of Eros+Massacre comes in at over three hours after an hour had to be cut for the theatrical version due to someone complaining of an invasion of privacy.
I have to applaud Arrow Films for tackling these works as they are not an easy sell. Eros+Massacre is over three hours in length, in Japanese with English subtitles and black and white. Each of those things on their own could put someone off, together…well.
Eros+Massacre tells the parallel stories of early 20th century anarchist Sakae Osugi and a pair of student activists. The stories interact and intertwine which provides a complex and rewarding piece of work that many say is Yoshida’s masterpiece.
Heroic Purgatory presents a bleak but dreamlike investigation into the political discourse taking place in early seventies Japan whilst Coup d’état is a biopic of Ikki Kita who was a right-wing extremist who sought to overthrow the government in 1936. After making the film, Yoshida retired from filmmaking altogether considering it to be the culmination of his work.
This is a great way to be introduced to some masterful work. I had a few issues with jerky Blu-ray on all my players but that could be down to my software/hardware or that fact that the ones I was sent to view were pre-production. This is a must have for all film-buffs.