949 A Story from Chikamatsu

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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artfilmfan
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#26 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:56 pm

I like A Story from Chikamatsu to go along with Criterion's beautiful DVD/Blu-ray cover. I think it's more subtle, poetic and mysterious just like that cover.

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swo17
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#27 Post by swo17 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:20 pm

Criterion can't care that much about spoiling the film with the alternate title since it will be printed on the back of the case

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#28 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:12 pm

swo, are you thinking outside the boat (I mean, the box)? No, I am not saying that using the alternate title would spoil anything that is the content on the disc. I’m only thinking about the DVD/Blu-ray cover (which is outside the box). :wink: Can you imagine having the alternate title hanging over those lovebirds who are in that box (I mean, that boat)?
Last edited by artfilmfan on Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#29 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:17 pm

I will note (without details) that Mizoguchi ends his film in accordance with Saikaku's version of the tale -- and not at all with Chikamatsu's. I will also note that had Mizoguchi actually followed Chikamatsu's version, the American re-titling would have been quite inapt.... ;-)

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#30 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:26 pm

I think Criterion simply applied the "loosely based on", "loosely adapted from", or "loosely translated from" process to come up with their title (to make the cover or product more appealing). Had a strict translation of the title been applied to Ozu' last film, what would we get, Michael? ;)

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#31 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:37 pm

Criterion's title is actually an accurate translation of Mizoguchi's title -- it is Mizoguchi's own title of the film that is misleading. (But I suppose that since Mizoguchi already had a film that referenced Saikaku in its real Japanese title, that option was out for THIS film). ;-)

Ozu's last film is actually "The Taste of Pacific Saury (or, alternatively Mackerel Pike)". Next month my wife and I will go to Japan during sanma season -- and will be able to ascertain its taste for ourselves. We will also be in Kamakura at the right time to sample the tiny white fish that are featured in Kore'eda's Umimachi Diary (The Little Sister).

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#32 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:08 pm

Thanks for the clarification, Michael. With many references to the source of the story and such, I got confused.
It is going to be another wonderful trip to Japan for you and your wife. Let us know how the fishes taste when you get back.

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Toby Dammit
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#33 Post by Toby Dammit » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:15 am

Ribs wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:37 am
It also happens to spoil the ending.
Come on ... it's Mizoguchi.
From the beginning you know that everything will end badly. :lol:


But speaking seriously. You're right.
it's a good reason. :-k

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#34 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:40 am

Toby Dammit wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:15 am
Come on ... it's Mizoguchi.
From the beginning you know that everything will end badly. :lol:
There are a few of his films that have generally positive endings -- and (almost) all involve a decision to dump the men who have been ruining their lives. ;-)

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#35 Post by smrybin » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:04 am

I realize this just came out today, but I would love to hear from anyone who is able to compare this new Criterion edition to the Arrow blu-ray (now OOP) put out a few years ago, in the now scarce "Late Mizoguchi" boxed-set ... worth the double-dip?

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liam fennell
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#36 Post by liam fennell » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:29 pm

I can't compare to anything except the version on Hulu a few years ago, but the new Criterion release looked astonishing to me last night. The focus in particular is really super sharp (very fine details register clear as day even for the DVD version) and I didn't see a single speck of dust or any scratches or anything like that. So if the Arrow release could be described as astonishing then maybe it's not worth it? This release does have Scorcese/Film Foundation branding if that helps.

Great movie and it's a real pleasure to own a copy for my personal library finally! More please!

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swo17
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#37 Post by swo17 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:44 pm

It was MoC that released it and it looked very good but smrybin isn't the only one wondering how the Criterion might compare

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#38 Post by Glowingwabbit » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:35 am

Has anyone compared the two yet?

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andyli
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#39 Post by andyli » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:55 pm

I haven't seen the Criterion. But from what I've seen on the Japanese release (which shares the same 4K restoration), I'd say there is no contest. The new scan, like all previous Mizoguchi 4K restos, easily wins in every department. The definition and stability are especially impressive.

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#40 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:27 pm

Finally got to see the new Blu-Ray. This really looks splendid. I thought the extras were passable but not outstanding (I did like the Haden Guest essay, however). This is really a must-buy release for anyone interested in Mizoguchi.

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tenia
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#41 Post by tenia » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:28 am

Yeah, I''d tamper down the technical enthusiasm. The restoration has been performed from a fine-grain master instead of the OCN, and it shows, and it most possibly has been slightly filtered out of its high frequencies to adjust this. It's good, but I certainly have seen better. The soundtrack also isn't very good, and seemingly Criterion further filtered the high-frequencies of a track who definitely didn't needed further filtering.

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#42 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:09 am

Have you seen a better print of this film? (And do you think there is a better home video version?)

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tenia
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#43 Post by tenia » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:03 am

I meant better restorations in a more general way. Sansho's 4k one is better, for instance, but it's from the OCN and not a fine grain master, and possibly less filtered (though I think it's still filtered) than Chikmatasu's.
It's not a bad restoration though, and I didn't mean to say that, but I certainly wouldn't particularly praise it. I think I scored its PQ 8 out of 10, maybe 7.5. It could be better without filtering, and obviously if the OCN (provided it's in a comparable state) is used.

But it's interesting for instance to compare these 3 4k restorations (Ugetsu, Chikamatsu and Sansho) to most of the B&W 4K Ozu's.

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#44 Post by swo17 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:10 am

tenia, how do you rate this as compared to the MoC?

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tenia
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#45 Post by tenia » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:08 pm

swo17 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:10 am
tenia, how do you rate this as compared to the MoC?
Going back to the MoC set, I was surprised by how dirty and wobbling the older HD masters were. They also most certainly were sharpened, so in comparison, the new 4K restorations look more natural.
Chikamatsu isn't the best upgrade in terms of definition though (compared to Ugestu and Sansho), but it still offers a visible upgrade. I reviewed the French boxset that was released this month (and which contains the 3 new 4K restorations) (it's in French, sorry for that, but I did include comparative caps for all 8 movies) and crappier encode aside, Ugetsu offers the best upgrade, then Sansho and then Chikamatsu. But all 3, again, are at least much cleaner and more stable (both in contrast/brightness and wobbling).

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knives
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#46 Post by knives » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:34 pm

Man, had Criterion started with films like this and Five Women I would have a much better opinion of Mizoguchi. As Michael says this is very hilarious which makes the central tragedy all the more complex and thus affecting. I particularly liked the reaction of the husband to just pretend his wife was away visiting family so that he wouldn't actually have to deal with the repercussions to his actions. The most satisfying bit is that though the ending is very Mizoguchi he develops a context by which my usual problems are not possible. It is clear that both men are at fault and that there is not any moral feelings against her. She simply wants to live a life away from oppression.

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#47 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:32 am

Glad you liked Chikamatsu monogatari and Five Women around Utamaro. They are both pretty amazing. Which (major) films have you still NOT seen?

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knives
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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#48 Post by knives » Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:37 am

This is actually only my 11th so there are a lot of major ones I haven't seen. The big ones on my to do list are Madame Yuki, Taira Clan, Crucified Woman, Princess Yang, Miss Oyu, A Giesha, My Love Burns, and The Sword.

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#49 Post by swo17 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:14 am

I'm glad Madame Yuki is first on your list

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Re: 949 A Story from Chikamatsu

#50 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:43 am

I would say that Madame Yuki is one of the most visually gorgeous Mizoguchi filma -- I like it a lot despite being bothered by some aspects of the plot. I've only seen Taira Clan subbed in French -- my sense is it looks very good but is dramatically a bit blah (the women are the most interesting characters but are comparatively unimportant). Crucified Woman is a remarkably stupid English title -- the Japanese title means actually something like "woman who is a subject of gossip". It is rather similar plot-wise to Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession -- and has great performances (maybe Tanaka's most interesting surviving performance for Mizoguchi -- and Yoshiko Kuga is very fine as her daughter).

Yohiki (Yang Kwei Fei) is great insofar its exquisite color cinematography and the splendid performance of Machiko Kyo -- and has a number of magnificent scenes (all featuring Kyo) but has some plodding in between. I would note that the Chinese story here is part of Japan's cultural foundation -- and is referred to on the first page of Tale of the Genji. Miss Oyu has plenty of good points -- but ultimately overwhelms my tolerance for over the top melodrama. A Geisha (Gion Festival Music) is a keeper -- one of my favorites, My Love Is Burning also features very extreme melodrama -- but has an interesting story. It's not bad -- but I prefer Love of Sumako the Actress from this period -- about the first major stage actress doing modern (European) drama.

Except for an impressive sword forging scene (borrowed from Wagner's Siegfried?), Great Sword Bijomaru is (for me) pretty much a stinker. One of M's worst. ;-)

Others to chck out -- Oyuki the Virgin is very interesting -- it uses the same source story as Stage Coach (albeit in a very different setting). The first time I saw it I had this weird sense of deja vu. ;-) I wish Straitts of Love and Hate was available in a decent looking, subbed form -- despite having no recognizable stars it features a pretty impressive heroine.

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