Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tatsuya Nakadai in Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (1962): Coming to Blu-Ray/DVD in September
Annouced via Masters of Cinema's Twitter, Masaki Kobayashi's anti-fuedalistic masterpiece, Harakiri (Seppuku) (1962), is getting a dual format release (Blu-Ray and DVD) in September. No specs have been announced yet, but for those not equipped with a region free player, this will surely be region B as the Japanese studios are notorious for always having their films always region locked.
The minimalist cover fits perfectly with the film's design of traditional Japanese art and the underlying brutality in a world designed to be zen and peaceful (I always felt the Criterion release cover taken from the Cuban poster of the film was a bit campy). I'm sure along with an amazing transfer at 1080p, Masters of Cinema will add a hefty booklet and some great features. Masters of Cinema has done incrediblly solid releases of Japanese films in the past with their releases of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata (2008), Kon Ichikawa's The Burmese Harp (Biruma no tategoto) (1956) and Shohei Imamura's Profound Desires of the Gods (Kamigami no fukaki yokubo) (1968) and Vengeance is Mine (Fukushu suru wa ware ni ari) (1979) (along with a release of Pigs and Battleships (Buta to gunkan) (1962) coming out next month that includes early feature, Stolen Desire (Nusumareta yokujo) (1958) and a hint that Ballad of Narayama (Narayama Bushiko) (1983) is on the way too).
Shochiku released Harakiri on Blu-Ray in Japan back in April which apparently sports a fantastic transfer. If MoC is able to get their hands on the same master, it'll be guarantee enough of a great release.
For those confined to region lock or don't have a Blu-Ray player, the Criterion edition is great release with a Donald Richie introduction, an archival interview with Kobayashi and interviews with star Nakadai and screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto.
Here's a trailer:
(Uploaded onto YouTube by user WorldCinematheque)