Family, Drama, Miike

My Neighbors the Yamadas.  Image courtesy of Walt Disney Home Entertainment Pom Poko.  Image courtesy of Walt Disney Home Entertainment Platform. Image courtesy of New Yorker Video

R1 DVD releases this week include two Studio Ghiblio animated productions from the director of GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (both with gentler subject matter) plus a Mainland Chinese dramatic epic that has won critical raves.

GRAVE was an incredibly moving and masterfully-told wartime tale about two children coping with the devastating impact of what happened to Japan, so I’m very interested in seeing these other two films — about which I’ve always heard good things. Both list for $29.99, though, and apparently don’t have any extras, which would seem to dictate that they are firmly in rental territory.

Director Jia Zhang-ke’s UNKNOWN PLEASURES was an admirable drama, but it belongs to that minimalist school of drama that’s not my favorite when it’s coupled with a drab palette. Still, the director’s work (including his latest, THE WORLD, which is currently receiving playdates in the US) has been so roundly raved about by the world cinema press that a second (or even third) look seems mandatory. PLATFORM is said to be an epic dramatic tale illustrating the effects of the 1980s upon a small trouple of Chinese entertainers. From New Yorker Video; definitely a rental for me.

Not pictured above is Takashi Miike’s THE WAY TO FIGHT. Todd at Twitch called this a “quiet little gem” but noted that the Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock DVD is not the greatest. It’s a period piece, set in 1970s Japan. Love him or hate him, Miike is worth watching.

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