Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy (2006) Zigeunerweisen (1980) / Kagero-za (1981) / Yumeji (1991)
3xDVD9 | VIDEO_TS | NTSC 4:3 | 415 mins | 22 Gb
Audio: Japanese AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subs: English Genre: Art-house
Maverick filmmaker Seijun Suzuki spent the 60s concocting astonishing masterpieces of yakuza psychedelia with such famous films as Branded to Kill (1967) and Tokyo Drifter (1966). With the ambitiously stunning Taisho Trilogy, Suzuki reincarnated himself as a master auteur of modern Japanese cinema. Seijun Suzuki's Taisho Trilogy of Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kagegro-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991) are considered by cult film fanatics and critics alike to be his mightiest works.
Set in a 1920s Japan, at a time when rapid modernization broke the bonds of tradition and set the stage for the Japanese militarism of the 30s, these independent productions allowed Suzuki’s penchant for stunning visuals, and unconventional narratives to reach new creative heights. Seijun Suzuki’s Taisho Trilogy is cinema at it’s most fantastic and bizarre, and are now regarded are as undisputed masterpieces of world cinema.
Color | In Japanese with English subtitles | 148 mins | 7,37 Gb
Visually astonishing and eternally haunting, this film represents the director's break from his characteristically campy yakuza flicks, delving into material that addresses the mysteries of death and desire. While on vacation, somber professor Aochi encounters his childhood friend, Nakasago, a handsome drifter down on his luck. Both men fall in love with Koine, a geisha, and though they go on to marry other women, their paxsions for Koine grow into all-consuming obsession. Suzuki's film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the 1981 Japanese Academy Awards, and is the first in his revered Taisho Trilogy.
Color | In Japanese with English subtitles | 139 mins | 7,40 Gb
The second of director Seijun Suzuki's wildly daring and much-acclaimed Taisho Trilogy, KAGERO-ZA, like its predecessor ZIGEUNERWEISEN, is set in Tokyo in the early 1920s. The haunting, episodic narrative follows a playwright and his growing obsession with a beautiful woman who floats in and out of his life. He first encounters her when she asks for his company on her way to the hospital, as she is afraid of the Chinese Lantern Plant vendor--the plant is said to contain female souls. He refuses, but his desire for the woman gradually overpowers him, so that by the time he realizes she is luring him to his demise, it is too late to stop her.
Color | In Japanese with English subtitles | 128 mins | 7,28 Gb
The third in maverick director Seijun Suzuki's Taisho Trilogy, this absurdist, mysterious ghost story takes its name from the real-life painter Yumeji Takehisa. Yumeji (Kenji Sawada) strays from his lover when he falls for the beautiful and freshly widowed Tomoyo (Tomoko Mariya), whose husband was slain by the jealous Onimatsu (Kazuhiko Hasegawa). Yumeji pursues Tomoyo despite the evident danger, which grows even more pronounced when Wakiya (Kazuhiko Hasegawa), Tomoyo's murdered husband, returns from the dead.
These are certainly quite a departure from his crazy yakuza masterpieces such as Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drifter. However this doesn’t make them any less visionary and exciting. All three powerfully highlight Suzuki's talent for stunning images, and twisted narratives. All set in the pre-war Japan, the films are bizarre ghost stories and powerful mediations on identity and sexuality. The transfers, while not perfect, looked quite fine on my Sony 42in Wega rear projection and much better than some earlier Suzuki releases – especially “Branded” which really is a mess. This collection is a most for serious fans of great Auteur and/or Asian cinema.