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

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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(Mar 07, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

TAISHO TRILOGY - DVD Movie

Special Features

  • Suzuki discusses the making of The Taisho Trilogy
  • Suzuki bio and filmography
  • Galleries of Key Art and Press Image
  • Print Essay on Suzuki and the Taisho Trilogy
  • Original Theatrical Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Yoshio Harada, Naoko Ôtani, Toshiya Fujita, Michiyo Ohkusu, Kisako Makishi
  • Directors: Seijun Suzuki
  • Writers: Hyakken Uchida, Kyoka Izumi, Yôzô Tanaka
  • Producers: Genjiro Arato
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kimstim
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 415 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E1MY6S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,969 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy (Zigeunerweisen / Kagero-za / Yumeji)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
Description:

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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Suzuki Seijun's "Taisho Trilogy" marked his return to active film making after being blackballed by the Japanese industry for years.

The films themselves are a loosely-connected trio of surreal happenings during the Taisho period, with bizarre plots and Suzuki's astonishing imagery.

The DVDs themselves are well produced, finally including English subtitles. However, the quality of the video transfer, though acceptable, is not as good as the Japanese versions that I also have. Odd, since I am fairly sure that they are taken from the same source?
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