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Masters of Cinema in February - Artwork added

Eureka Entertainment have announced the UK DVD release of Luchino Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers and their second Kenji Mizoguchi double-bill Chikamatsu Monogatari + Uwasa no Onna as part of their Masters of Cinema Series on 25th February 2008. Priced at £22.99 and £24.99 respectively, details follow…

Rocco and his Brothers - From Luchino Visconti comes this epic study of family, sex, and betrayal. Alongside Fellini’s La dolce vita and Antonioni’s L’avventura, Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e I suoi fratelli) ushered Italian cinema into a new era, one unafraid to confront head-on the hypocrisies of the ruling class, the squalor in urban living, and the collision between generations.

The Masters of Cinema series is proud to present one of Visconti’s most revered films newly restored to its original Italian-language three-hour form. Features include:

  • 2 Disc Edition containing a new anamorphic restoration of the film in its fully uncut 3-hour Italian release version
  • New and improved English subtitles
  • Three hours of extras, including newsreels from 1960; lengthy interviews with cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, and stars of the film Annie Girardot and Claudia Cardinale; the original Italian trailer; and two documentaries – TF1’s les Coulisses du tournage, and RAI’s hour-long Luchino Visconti
  • 40-page booklet featuring archival imagery, articles by Luchino Visconti (“The Miracle That Game Man Crumbs”) and respected Italian film critic Guido Aristarco (“The Earth Still Trembles”), and a rare interview with Visconti (“Questions for the Author”) translated into English for the first time

Chikamatsu Monogatari + Uwasa no Onna - The second of four planned double-bill releases in the Masters of Cinema series pairs one of Mizoguchi’s most respected and well known films, Chikamatsu Monogatari, with a less known rarity, Uwasa no Onna, both on DVD in the UK for the very first time.

Based on a centuries old tale with roots in real events, Chikamatsu Monogatari (A Tale From Chikamatsu, aka The Crucified Lovers) tells the hauntingly tragic story of a forbidden love affair between a merchant’s wife, Osan (Kyoko Kagawa), and her husband’s employee, Mohei (Kazuo Hasegawa), in an era when the punishment for adultery was crucifixion.

When a series of innocent events lead to the false accusation of an affair between Osan and Mohei, the accused pair are forced to flee an almost certain death sentence. On the run, the outlaw couple grow closer together, drawn inexorably towards the romantic crime of which they are accused.

In the hands of Mizoguchi, Chikamatsu Monogatari depicts two people caught up in a constructed world where true love and social obligation are at odds. His portrayal of the lovers’ dilemma lead famed director Akira Kurosawa to describe the film as “a great masterpiece that could only have been made by Mizoguchi”.

Released the same year, Uwasu no Onna (The Woman in the Rumour) offesr a contrasting portrait of attitudes and mores concerning love and relationships. Set in a modern Kyoto geisha house, the eponymous woman in the rumour is Hatsuko (Kinuyo Tanaka, star of countless Mizoguchi films, in her last role for the director with whom she was often romantically linked), madame of her own geisha house. When Hatsuko ends up pursuing after the same man as her daughter, Yukiko (Yoshiko Kuga), both women are forced to confront attitudes towards each other and the family business.

Features include:
  • 2 Disc Special Edition containing new restorations of both films
  • New and improved English subtitles
  • Video discussions about both films by acclaimed Japanese film expert/critic, festival programmer, and filmmaker Tony Rayns
  • Original Theatrical Trailers
  • 56-page booklet featuring writing by Keiko I. McDonald (author of Mizoguchi) and Mark Le Fanu (author of Mizoguchi and Japan), as well as extracts from Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s ‘The Almanc of Love’ and Ihara Saikaku’s ‘What the Seasons Brought to the Almanac-Maker’, texts adapted by Mizoguchi in Chikamatsu Monogatari

The next two Mizoguchi double-bills will be Akasen Chitai + Yokihi and Ugetsu Monogatari + Oyu-Sama, both coming soon in 2008.

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