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Still Walking [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Region: A
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 8, 2011
  • List Price: $39.95

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Still Walking - Widescreen Special

Purchase Still Walking [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
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:5/5]

Still Walking is director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s personal tribute to his parents. Like French filmmaker Olivier Assayas’ Summer Hours, Still Walking is a family drama that takes place in the heat of the summertime over which death, regret, and family discord loom. With the backdrop of a melancholy home and cinematography that hints at impressionism and Japanese watercolor, the film is a slice of life that takes place over the course of a day and focuses on simple domesticities rather than heavy drama.

The Yokoyama family has gathered together at their elderly parents’ home for the anniversary of their eldest brother Junpei’s death. It has been 15 years since he died, but hardly anything in the home has changed. It becomes immediately apparent that the family patriarch Kyohei (Yoshio Harada) and the second son Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) do not get along very well. Ryota, trying desperately to keep the fact that he has lost his job hidden from his parents, has also brought his new wife and stepson to the family home, hoping they will be accepted by his parents. His older sister, Chinami (You), does her best to ease the tensions, but in a family where uneasy things have remained unspoken for so many years, easing tensions isn’t an easy thing to do.

Still Walking is a beautifully tackled multi-generational drama. It is quiet, sincere, and eloquently devised. It simultaneously looks forward and backward in time, celebrating Japan’s traditional past, its modern present, and its unknown future, while asking the question we all ponder at one point or another – what is the meaning of life?

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Supervised and approved by director Hirokazu Kore-eda and director of photography Yutaka Yamazaki, this new high-definition transfer digital transfer was created on a Cintel-C Reality Telecine from the original camera negative.

The film appears on this Blu-ray release from the Criterion Collection in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement. The image certainly has a film-like look to it with an obvious layer of grain, but detail is sometimes soft and blurry. This is not necessarily a result of the transfer, but due to camera choices and soft focus and artistic intent. Still, Still Walking can look quite radiant, full of light, almost impressionistic.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

This film features a fully digital soundtrack. The audio for this release was mastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master using Pro Tools HD.

The simple DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo lossless soundtrack sounds surprisingly good, with wide stereo imaging, clean, full dialogue and lots of atmospheric sounds. There is good depth with only the two channels and the lack of surround sound will not be missed.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The supplements on Still Walking are a bit thinner than usual for a Criterion release. Even the booklet seems a little lackluster, providing only one essay, although it does provide recipes from the film as well.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Interviews – Interviews with director Hirokazu Kore-eda and cinematographer Yutaka Yamazaki shot in August 2010 at the International House of Japan in Tokyo, with Yamazaki acting as cameraman:
  • Hirokazu Kore-Eda (1080p/24; 0:25.06)
  • Yutaka Yamazaki (1080p/24; 0:13.14)
  • Making Still Walking (1.33:1; 1080i/60; 0:28.32) – In this half-hour documentary, director Hirokazu Kore-eda and his actors and crew work to create Still Walking’s all-encompassing realism – whether by attending to the costumes and lighting or making sure the cooking is just like that of Kore-eda’s mother.
  • Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
  • Booklet: Featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim, recipes prepared in the film, film credits, stills, and information on the transfer.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Still Walking is more than just a family drama, it is a film about life and about the battle between generations. Beautifully filmed, scripted and acted, the film manages to cross over cultural boundaries so that anyone can appreciate its deeper meaning. Highly Recommended.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004CIIXDM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Still Walking - Widescreen Special

Purchase Still Walking [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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