SciFi Japan

    Criterion to Release Kon Ichikawa Classics on DVD

    Source: John DeSentis
    Official Site: The Criterion Collection

    The Criterion Collection has announced the March 13, 2007 DVD releases of two classic war dramas by director Kon Ichikawa, THE BURMESE HARP (Biruma no tategoto, 1956) and FIRES ON THE PLAIN (Nobi, 1959). Both are newly restored high-definition digital transfers presented in their original aspect ratios (1.33:1 and 2.35:1, respectively) and feature newly remastered soundtracks. MSRP for both titles is $29.95 each.

    THE BURMESE HARP stars Shoji Yasui (THE FALL OF AKO CASTLE) as Mizushima, a POW at the end of World War II sent on a mission that will change his very identity. Music plays a key role in the film, which features a score by the late Akira Ifukube (GODZILLA, DAIMAJIN). The DVD also features interviews with director Kon Ichikawa and veteran actor Rentaro Mikuni (KWAIDAN), and an essay by film historian Tony Rayns.

    FIRES ON THE PLAIN is another story near the end of the war, this time of remnants of the Japanese Imperial Army in the jungles of the Philippines. Private Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi, GAMERA and GAMERA VS. GUILLON) struggles to retain his humanity as he watches fellow soldiers descend into desperation, madness and even cannibalism. The DVD features an introduction by film historian Donald Richie, new interviews with director Kon Ichikawa and actor Mickey Curtis (GUNHED, COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE), and an essay by film critic Chuck Stephens.

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