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An Autumn Afternoon [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Japanese PCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Classification: PG
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: BFI
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 23, 2011
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004LNSFLS[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

The BFI continues their ongoing strand, The Ozu Collection with the release of the late filmmaker’s final work before his untimely death in 1963, that same year’s An Autumn Afternoon. In the film Ozu once again returns to the story from 1949 classic Late Spring of a parent trying to arrange a marriage for a daughter. Chisu Riyu is back as the concerned father and Shima Iwashita plays Michiko, the beautiful young daughter being urged into marriage. Like 1960’s Late Autumn, Ozu’s first remake of Late Spring, An Autumn Afternoon infuses the story with a much lighter air and comedic tone.

As with all of Ozu’s films, he uses the lens of the middles class Japanese domestic life to look at the changing of Japanese society in a wider context. All of his films, it seems, had been pointing towards this inevitable conclusion. East versus West, past versus future, old versus young, have always been the conflicting themes. Finally, in An Autumn Afternoon, Ozu’s characters, each of them familiar faces from all of his films, favorite actors used throughout his career now visibly older, give in to the inevitability of the younger generation and their changing, more Westernized sensibilities and mores having taken over.

An Autumn Afternoon, then, can be looked at as an elegy to a bygone era, but not a sad one, more a romanticized and meticulously comedic farewell to the past and a glimpse at the modernity of the Japanese future to come.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

An Autumn Afternoon was transferred and restored in high definition from the best availble film elements. Master materials have been made available by The Criterion Collection. Further color grading and picture restoration was completed by the BFI.

Although the AVC/MPEG-4 encodement is often heavily grained with a course structure, the image looks quite natural and film-like. The BFI have done the best they can with the available sources and An Autumn Afternoon looks natural with bright colors and little source damage.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The simple monaural soundtrack in PCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) has been cleaned up nicely and has little crackle or background noise apparent. Dialogue is clear as it can be given the technology of the period.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The Blu-ray disc contains no added supplemental materials, but the included DVD release is supplied with Ozu’s 1948 film A Hen in the Wind. There is also the excellent illustrated booklet with an essay on An Autumn Afternoon by Kyoko Hirano and A Hen in the Wind by Jonathan Rosenbaum.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

An Autumn Afternoon is a fitting conclusion to Ozu’s filmmaking career, tidily wrapping up the themes he so obsessively reworked in each of his films. It still would have been interesting to see where he would have gone with them after this, but, alas, we will never get the chance. Still, this is another excellent package from the BFI of a great piece of cinematic history.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004LNSFLS[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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