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Late Spring [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese LPCM 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: NR
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run Time: 108 Mins.
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • List Price: $39.95

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Purchase Late Spring [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Yasujiro Ozu’s 1949 film Late Spring is one of the filmmaker’s masterpieces of reflection on the changing mores of the Japanese social structure and the first of his films to introduce his Noriko (Setsuko Hara). Like in Early Summer, Late Spring finds Noriko settled in her single life. She’s 27 and she lives at home with her father, the Professor Sukichi Somiya (Chishû Ryû), taking care of his needs. But her family and friends think it’s time for her to marry and they set upon a plan to match her up with someone and to convince her it is time.

The film is filled with Ozu’s post-war mannerisms, juxtapositions of the modern and the ancient in the form of mixed traditional and western garb and the clashing of Eastern and Western culture as Noriko wafts her way through mazes of Coca-Cola adverts and Ozu’s camera flashes on Japanese rock gardens. There is a tranquil nature to all of Ozu’s films and that is present here, despite its undercurrent of a culture falling to pieces. It always seems to fall to bits so politely. Perhaps there is something to be said there, that major upheavals don’t always happen with a bang, but sometimes with a whimper.

(Editor’s Note: portions of the above review on the film were previously published as our Late Spring [UK Release] Blu-ray Review)

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Late Spring originally appeared on Blu-ray in 2010 on UK store shelves from the BFI. Since the master for that BFI edition was actually provided by the Criterion Collection, one shouldn’t expect much of a difference in picture quality between the two releases. As much as I tried, I couldn’t spot any differences between the two myself. Like the UK release before it, the Criterion has a filmic appearance, but there is a lot of fluctuation in image quality due to the source. Scratches, dirt, tramlines, and the like are still visible. Black levels flicker from deep to greyish often. It’s also worth noting that the screen captures here, in comparison to their BFI counterparts that may look a bit cleaner is most likely due to the exact frame being slightly off, rather than the Criterion release actually not having as much source damage retained. From one frame to the next, Late Spring can show a big jump in damage, then settle down tremendously.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Diverging from the BFI release which had the restored monaural soundtrack provided in LPCM 2.0, this Criterion disc is in LPCM 1.0. While this does offer or more solid sounding, realistic, and true mono, the same unavoidable issues with the track are present. Dialogue is a little scratchy at times, especially the score, which is a bit buried shrill sounding.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Criterion packs Late Spring with a typical set of high quality extras that will leave you more informed about this great filmmaker than you may have been before you were going in.

The supplements:

  • Tokyo-ga (1080i/60; 01:31:53) – In this 1985 documentary, renowned filmmaker Wim Wenders explores the world of the legendary director Yaujiro Ozu, whom Wenders Considers “a sacred treasure of cinema.”
  • Audio commentary – This audio commentary, recorded in New York in 2004, features Richard Peña, program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and an associate professor at Colombia University.
  • Booklet: The booklet features essays by film critic Michael Atkinson and Japanese-film historian Donald Richie.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

A superb entry into the unique filmmaking world of Japanese icon Yosujiro Ozu, Criterion’s release of Late Spring finally offers those without Region B playback the ability to pick up this classic that has long been available to our British cousins across the pond. Its a fine package well worth owning for any cinephile who appreciates family dramas and Asian cinema.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006X96PBU[/amazon-product]

Purchase Late Spring [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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