The Complete Lady Snowblood The Criterion Collection
special_edition, Special Edition
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A young woman (Meiko Kaji), trained from childhood as an assassin and hell-bent on revenge for her father s murder and her mother s rape, hacks and slashes her way to gory satisfaction. Rampant with inventive violence and spectacularly choreographed swordplay, Toshiya Fujita s pair of influential cult classics Lady Snowblood and Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance, set in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japan, respectively, are bloody, beautiful extravaganzas composed of one elegant widescreen composition after another. The first Lady Snowblood was a major inspiration for Quentin Tarantino s Kill Bill saga, and both of Fujita s films remain cornerstones of Asian action cinema.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 2K digital restorations of both films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
- New interviews with Kazuo Koike, the writer of the manga on which the films are based, and screenwriter Norio Osada
- New English subtitle translations
- PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton
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But these are sumptuously shot, richly colored films from 1973 and 1974, which were in a weird lost decade for Japanese film (there were some good ones... but a LOT of bad ones). These films were based on the manga of a similar name (Japanese translations can vary).
So do not compare these to Kurosawa or Tarantino, enjoy these on their own. They are over the top, bloody revenge flicks. They are amazing for being what they are and not trying to hard to be anything else.
This 2 Blu-Ray collection was a stunning price and has TONS of extras! (digital tons... not real tons... heh). Criterion has produced a lovely set for the fans. Thank you for showing your love Criterion. Now take my money!
In the sequel, ”Love Song of Vengeance,” a wounded Kashima has avenged her family and is visiting their graves. She almost immediately snaps into action when ambushed by a group of bandits, and is pursued by a large dragnet of cops who are after her for her crimes in the first “Lady Snowblood” film. The police eventually offer her a pardon if she agrees to help them get incriminating evidence on a revolutionary leader.
Both movies take place against the background of the Meiji restoration, a period in Japanese history that ushered in “modern” Japan. After 300 years of isolationism under the Shoguns, the shift of power to young emperor Meiji led to increased interactions with the West and a new policy of expanding trade and colonialism.
Bonus features on the Blu-ray edition include new interviews with Kazuo Koike, the author of the manga — a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels aimed at adults as well as children — that inspired the films, and screenwriter Norio Osada; trailers; and a critical essay. The films are in Japanese, with English subtitles.
This movie (and its sequel, "Love Song of Vengeance", also included in this Criterion release) are essential viewing for fans of Japanese cinema, fans of revenge films and fans of Quentin
While the special features aren't anything that special, it is still two movies for the price of one, and they've been painstakingly restored to fine detail and brilliant color, per Criterion's usual high standard. I found myself blown away by the first movie and entertained by the sequel. I have no regrets about this purchase.