Search - Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy (Zigeunerweisen / Kagero-za / Yumeji) on DVD

Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy (Zigeunerweisen / Kagero-za / Yumeji)
Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy
Zigeunerweisen / Kagero-za / Yumeji
Actors: Ysaku Matsuda, Michiyo Ookusu, Mariko Kaga, Katsuo Nakamura, Yoshio Harada
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2006     6hr 55min


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Movie Details

Actors: Ysaku Matsuda, Michiyo Ookusu, Mariko Kaga, Katsuo Nakamura, Yoshio Harada
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Creators: Junichi Fujisawa, Kazue Nagatsuka, Akira Suzuki, Genjiro Arato, Hyakken Uchida, Kyoka Izumi, Yz Tanaka
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Kimstim
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/07/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 6hr 55min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

ArtHouse Seijun Suzuki
Sabre Rattler | Portland, OR | 04/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I am very happy to see these films finally released on dvd. These three films made in the 80s and 90s are markedly different from his earlier ganster films. While many of his early movies contained weird images, the 3 films in this trilogy are full-blown examples of surrealism. So it is not a certainty, even if you are a fan of "branded to kill" or "tokyo drifter", that you will love these later films. If you liked those early films as gonzo action flicks, you may not like these arthouse movies.

These are NOT action movies. They are long, each well over 2 hours, and require a great deal of patience. However, if you like experimental movies, you will want to check these out. They are a remarkable twist on familiar surrealist themes, eg, death, sexuality, identity. More emotionally involving than classic european surrealism, but retaining its obsession with bizarre images - and equally preoccupied with sex, violence, and death.

These 3 films constitute a trilogy only in a conceptual sense. None of the movies are sequels to any other. They are only related in approach, style, and historical setting. Set in the 50s, the stories fall in familiar terrain of decadence and moral decline. In other words, the emotions and actions and morals of the characters are as chaotic and bizarre as the images.

As for the dvd set itself, this is really a bare-bones package. The picture quality is good, but i have seen better (and worse). The extras are minimal. Included in the first disc is an interview with seijun suzuki, but it is not particularly insightful, mostly questions and answers about rather mundane issues. All the discs include trailers for the respective films. Bios and filmographies are text sent to your tv screen. A lot of this junk is the same material on all the discs.

The first 2 films are not widescreen, but i believe that is consistent with the original aspect ratio of the actual movies. Yumeji however is a widescreen presentation,

No audio or subtitle options. Audio is japanese. IMPORTANT WARNING! The english subtitles are part of the picture. There is no way to turn them off. If you are japanese and/or speak japanese, you might look for a different edition - assuming one can be found (perhaps ebay?).

Unfortunately, like most "foreign films", they are rather pricey, over 20 bucks per disc with the discounts."
Great movies by Suzuki, horrible transfer to DVD
Paul Krygowski | Denver, CO United States | 03/26/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"All three movies in this collection are wonderful cult classics.
Each deal with human fears and foibles with a hint of classic japanese incarnations of fox fairies and ghosts. Unfortunately, all of this is ruined by an inexblicably horrible transfer. From the very opening credits there is dithering of the black backgrounds so noticeable that it is a major distraction. These digital dropouts or dithering continues throught each film in this box set. I realize that these films were not big budget movies at the time of their making but that does not excuse bad digital transfers now. I am a huge Suzuki fan but these are being returned and not joining my collection."
asugar2 | Seattle USA | 05/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)


ZIGEUNERWEISEN: 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.

KAGERO-ZA: 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.

YUMEJI: 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."
Cinema at its most fantastic and bizarre.
THEACIDHOUSE | NYC | 04/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."