Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics

A ottobre per Criterion Collection… sarà una lunga attesa, e pensare che stavo per comprarmi separatamente Kill! e Samurai spy!

The Criterion Collection presents Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics, Great Adaptations,The Samurai Trilogy, Akira Kurosawa: Four Samurai Classics and Wrong Men & Notorious Women: Five Hitchcock Thrillers 1935 – 1946 collector’s sets:

Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics—Coming in October!

REBELLION! The political and cultural tumult of the early 1960s shook Japan as it did the rest of the world. Japanese filmmakers responded to the changing times by disguising themes of dissent in the traditional form of the swordplay film, or chanbara. Previously populated by heroic samurai, self-sacrificing ronin, and historical figures who exemplified noble Japanese virtues, the genre began embracing a new kind of hero, or antihero: the lone outcast, distrustful of authority but maintaining a personal code of honor. These four classic films, from four masters of Japanese cinema, turn a genre upside down, redefining for a modern generation the meaning of loyalty and honor, as embodied by the iconic figure of the samurai. $99.95 BUY IT!

Collector’s set includes:

Samurai Rebellion (Masaki Kobayashi, 1967): Toshiro Mifune stars as Isaburo, an aging swordsman living a quiet life until his clan lord orders that his son marry the lord’s mistress, who has recently displeased the ruler. Reluctantly, father and son take in the woman, and, to the family’s surprise, the young couple fall in love. But the lord soon reverses his decision and demands the mistress’s return. Against all expectations, Isaburo and his son refuse, risking the destruction of their entire family. Director Masaki Kobayashi’s Samurai Rebellion is a gripping story of a peaceful man who finally decides to take a stand against injustice

Special features: New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Video introduction by director Masaki Kobayashi; Original theatrical trailer; New essay by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie; New and improved English subtitle translation

Sword of the Beast (Hideo Gosha, 1965): Legendary swordplay filmmaker Hideo Gosha’s Sword of the Beast chronicles the flight of retainer Gennosuke, who kills one of his clan’s ministers as part of a reform plot. He is pursued by his former comrades, and the betrayal so shakes his sense of honor that he decides to live in the wild, like an animal. There he encounters a motley group who are illegally mining the shogun’s gold and, with the aid of another master swordsman, gets a chance not just at survival but to recover his name and honor.

Special features: New, restored high-definition digital transfer; New essay by Japanese film and pop-culture authority Patrick Macias; New and improved English subtitle translation

Samurai Spy (Masahiro Shinoda, 1965): Years of warfare end in a Japan unified under the Tokugawa shogunate, and samurai spy Sasuke Sarutobi, tired of conflict, longs for peace. When a high-ranking spy named Koriyama defects from the shogun to a rival clan, however, the world of the swordsmen is thrown into turmoil. After he is unwittingly drawn into the conflict, Sarutobi tracks Koriyama, while a mysterious, white-hooded figure seems to hunt them both. By tale’s end, no one is who they seemed to be, and the truth is far more personal than anyone suspected. Director Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy,filled with clan intrigue, ninja spies, and multiple double crosses, marks a bold stylistic departure from swordplay film convention.

Special features: New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Exclusive new video interview with director Masahiro Shinoda; New essay by film scholar Alain Silver; New and improved English subtitle translation

Kill! (Kihachi Okamoto, 1968): In this pitch-black action comedy by Kihachi Okamoto, a pair of down-on-their-luck swordsmen arrive in a dusty, windblown town, where they become involved in a local clan dispute. One, previously a farmer, longs to become a noble samurai. The other, a former samurai haunted by his past, prefers living anonymously with gangsters. But when both men discover the wrongdoings of the nefarious clan leader, they side with a band of rebels who are under siege at a remote mountain cabin. Based on the same source novel as Akira Kurosawa’s Sanjuro, Kill! playfully tweaks samurai film convention, mixing in elements from Italian westerns and established chanbara classics alike.

Special features: New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Original theatrical trailer; New essay by film and culture critic Howard Hampton; New and improved English subtitle translation