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Kijû Yoshida: Love + Anarchism on Blu-ray and DVD in November

29 October 2015

Arrow Academy has announced the release of a new boxed-set devoted to one of Japan’s greatest and most unsung filmmakers. Kijû Yoshida: Love + Anarchism arrives on Blu-ray and DVD in November, containing the director’s ‘political trilogy’ consisting of his epic masterpiece Eros + Massacre (presented in both its theatrical version and full-length director’s cut), Heroic Purgatory and Coup d’état. Each of these films is being made available with English subtitles for the first time on home video.

The work of Kijû Yoshida is one of Japanese cinema’s obscure pleasures. A contemporary of Nagisa Oshima (Death by Hanging, In the Realm of the Senses) and Masahiro Shinoda (Pale Flower, Assassination), Yoshida started out as an assistant to Keisuke Kinoshita before making his directorial debut at age 27. In the decades that followed he produced more than 20 features and documentaries, yet each and every one has proven difficult to see in the English-speaking world.

This collection brings together three works from the late sixties and early seventies, a loose trilogy united by their radical politics and an even more radical shooting style. Eros + Massacre (1969), presented here in both its 169-minute theatrical version and the full-length 220-minute director’s cut, tells the parallel stories of early 20th-century anarchist (and free love advocate) Sakae Osugi and a pair of student activists. Their stories interact and intertwine, resulting in a complex, rewarding work that is arguably Yoshida’s masterpiece.

Heroic Purgatory (1970) pushes the dazzling cinematic language of Eros + Massacre (1973) even further, presenting a bleak but dreamlike investigation into the political discourses taking place in early seventies Japan. Coup d’état returns to the past for a biopic of Ikki Kita, the right-wing extremist who sought to overthrow the government in 1936. Yoshida considered the film to be the culmination of his work, promptly retiring from feature filmmaking following its completion.

With Love + Anarchism, Arrow Films hope to shed some light on a filmmaker whose work has always been difficult to see outside of extremely rare repertory screenings. Using masters supervised and approved by Yoshida himself, we are pleased to bring three of his finest films to a wider audience.

This limited edition boxed-set will also come with a host of extras, including introductions by Yoshida and extensive scene-specific commentaries and introductions by David Desser, the author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave. Desser also contributes to the 80-page perfect-bound book alongside fellow authorities on Japanese cinema of the 60s and 70s, Isolde Standish and Dick Stegewerns.

Kijû Yoshida: Love + Anarchism will be released in the UK as a 7-disc dual format set (Blu-ray and DVD) on 9th November 2015 by Arrow Films as part of the Arrow Academy label. The RRP has yet to be confirmed, but the best deal at the moment is at the Arrow shop for £54.99.

Release details:

  • Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3,000 copies)

  • New high definition digital transfers supervised by Kijû Yoshida

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations for all films

  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM Audio on all films

  • New translated English subtitles on all films

Special features:

  • Yoshida …or: The Explosion of the Story – a 30-minute documentary on Eros + Massacre with contributions from Yoshida and film critics Mathieu Capel and Jean Douchet

  • Introductions to Heroic Purgatory and Coup d’etat by Yoshida

  • Newly-filmed discussions of Eros + Massacre, Heroic Purgatory and Coup d’etat by David Desser, author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave, recorded exclusively for this release

  • Scene-select commentaries by David Desser on all three films

  • Heroic Purgatory theatrical trailer

  • Coup d’etat theatrical trailer

  • Limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm

  • Illustrated 80-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the films by David Desser, Isolde Standish (author of Politics, Porn and Protest: Japanese Avant-Garde Cinema in the 1960s and 1970s) and Dick Stegewerns (author of Kiju Yoshida: 50 Years of Avant-Garde Filmmaking in Post-War Japan)