DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Onibaba

A newly restored high-definition transfer, anamorphic 2.35:1 OAR, makes the black-and-white shadings look crisper than ever.

Alex Cox's video introduction (6min) compares and contrasts Onibaba with Kaneto Shindo's earlier The Naked Island (1960).

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There are also optional English subtitles, scene selection, a full audio commentary (recorded in 2000, Japanese with English subtitles) by writer/director Kaneto Shindo and stars Kei Sato and Jitsuko Yoshimura, discussing the difficulty of finding (and filming in) a field of susuki grass, the superiority of black-and-white for clarity and stirring the imagination, Shindo's insistence that his small cast and crew lived and slept on set for the months of shooting.

Super-8 footage, shot on location by Kei Sato (45min), partly black-and-white and partly colour, is an extraordinary document to have, but at the same time if these silent images are to keep the attention of anyone but the most obsessive film lover, they are in desperate need of a commentary and (dare I say it?) judicious editing.

The disc is made complete by the original trailer and a picture gallery and there is an excellent 24-page accompanying booklet.

Reviewed on: 11 Sep 2005
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An impoverished mother turns to murder as a method of survival at a time of civil war.
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Anton Bitel: Blu-Ray

Product Code: EKA40103

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Commentary by writer/director Kaneto Shindo and actors Kei Sato and Jitsuko Yoshimura; introduction by Alex Cox; 8mm footage shot on location by Kei Sato; stills gallery, 24 page booklet

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