Monday, July 18, 2011

Kuroneko (1968) and Harakiri (1962) coming to DVD/Blu-Ray from Criterion in October

No surprise that this was coming after it's brief theatrical tour late last year, but Kaneto Shindo's Kuroneko (Black Cat) (1968) along with a Blu-Ray upgrade of Harakiri (Seppuku) (1962).

Kuroneko in no surprise considering late last year, Janus Films did a theatrical tour of the film (which played at Los Angeles' Nuart with a lolcats joke on the marquee) with a beautiful print pulled from the archives of Toho. The new release will include an archived interview with Kaneto Shindo, an new interview with Japanese film critic Tadao Sato, the original trailer and a booklet an essay by Maitland McDonagh and an except of Joan Mellen's 1972 interview with Shindo (probably the same one already included in The Masters of Cinema release). Though more atmospheric and haunting than scary or horrific, Kuroneko will come out a few weeks shy of Halloween on Oct. 18th.

Then we have Harakiri (which is already being released in September by The Masters of Cinema, though on Region B) coming out on Blu-Ray on Oct. 4th. Like the previous DVD release, it will contain an intro by the always excellent Donald Richie, an archival interview with Masaki Kobayashi (which seems to be also included on The Masters of Cinema release), interviews with Tatsuya Nakadai and screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto, the original theatrical trailer and an essay by Joan Mellen with an archival interview between her and Kobayashi. The Masters of Cinema release will contain only the Kobayashi interview and the trailer, but in it's place will be a 28 page booklet featuring an essay by Philip Kemp and a 1963 interview with Kobayashi.

Here's the trailer from last years re-release of Kuroneko:

(Uploaded onto YouTube by user janusfilmsnyc)


  1. Good stuff Mark... For me Kuroneko and Onibaba are giants of Japanese Cinema. I'll definitely be picking up the MOC Blu of Harakiri. By the way, did you ever see Kobayashi's massive Human Condition ?

  2. I actually have seen The Human Condition! An incredibly exhausting (but fantastic) ten hours! I had to watch it thought over three nights in the course of a week though. It's interesting too to see from the first film to the last how Kobayashi actually evolves as a director in style and content to be come the excellent director he was in the sixties. I have a copy of it, but I should get around to seeing his earlier film Black River!