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Late Autumn [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

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

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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]

BFI continues their roll out of The Ozu Collection with the acclaimed filmmaker’s late-period color piece, Late Autumn. This oft-neglected but wholly pleasant work by Yasujiro Ozu is a remake of the director’s own earlier work from 1949, Late Spring. As with all of the master director’s works, it focuses on the familial relationships as a microcosm of the changing Japanese society.

In Late Autumn, as with Late Spring, the focus is on a parent finding an appropriate husband for a beautiful young daughter. This time around, however, rather than a father pushing his reluctant daughter towards marriage, it is a mother doing the urging. The mother, being played by Setsuko Hara, the same actress who played the part of the daughter in the previous film. Through this setup that Ozu was so fond of in many of his films, the changing of Japanese society in the post-war era is examined. The dichotomy of traditional culture alongside modernization can be viewed from many different aspects. There is the different manner of dress between Akiko’s (Hara) traditional garb and her daughter Ayaka’s Western wear. On restaurant tables traditional sake service mingles with bottles of French’s yellow mustard and Tabasco sauce.

Late Autumn, unlike its original, is much lighter in tone. From the color production to the jovial spirit of the characters in the opening scene enjoying a good laugh before and after a memorial service on the 7th year of Akiko’s husband’s death, it is clear that this is not going to be a cenotaph to a bygone era, but rather, a happy tip of the hat to the inevitability of change.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Late Autumn was transferred and restored in high definition from the best available film elements Shochiku Co., Ltd.

The film appears in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 in an AVC/MPEG-4 encodement from the BFI. They’ve done the best job they can with the material at hand to spin that BFI magic, but Late Autumn is not the greatest of sources, being hindered with many instances of tramlines, dirt, and other specks and splotches. Grain is a bit unstable as well, still, Late Autumn often looks quite wonderful despite all of these things. Colors are vibrant, detail is often rather textured, even if it can soften and become a little noisy, and the look of the transfer is very natural.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio is a simple monaural track in PCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) that is relatively clean and shows little to no crackle in the dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The Blu-ray itself has no extras, but the included DVD, which we were not sent, does feature Ozu’s rare 1934 film A Mother Should Be Loved, and an optional score for that film by composer Ed Hughes, commissioned by the BFI. There is also, as is typical, the illustrated booklet. This one is a little thin, providing only one commissioned essay by Asian cinema expert Alexander Jacoby, film credits, and some information on the transfer.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Perhaps Late Autumn will never be regarded as a classic such as the film it is a reworking of, but with this new remaster from the BFI, it is time to reconsider its position in Ozu’s body of work. This is an extremely enjoyable film that lovers of Asian cinema will appreciate and the BFI have done an admirable job bringing it to Blu-ray.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004LNSFN6[/amazon-product]

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

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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