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Kagemusha, Lost in America & Defending Your Life from Criterion in March

22 December 2020

The Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have confirmed the titles to be released on Blu-ray in the UK in March 2021.

Available on March 8, Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece Kagemusha is a historical epic that is also a mediation on the power of nature. Following on March 29, two releases from writer and director Albert Brooks. Lost in America is a  hysterical satire on Reagan-era values, a high point in the string of restless comedies about insecure characters searching for satisfaction in the modern world that established Brooks' unique comic voice. Defending Your Life is a rare feat of personal, philosophical filmmaking that happens to also be divinely entertaining.

 

Kagemusha Blu-ray cover art

KAGEMUSHA (Japan 1980) | Blu-ray | 8 March 2021

When a warlord dies, a peasant thief is called upon to impersonate him, and then finds himself haunted by his spirit as well as his own ambitions. With his late colour masterpiece KagemushaAkira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career – the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendour of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a historical epic that is also a meditation on the nature of power.

SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY FEATURES:

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince (The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa)
  • Lucas, Coppola, and Kurosawa (19 minutes, 2005), in which directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola discuss Kurosawa and their roles as executive producers of Kagemusha 
  • A 41-minute documentary on the making of Kagemushapart of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create 
  • Image: Kurosawa’s Continuity, a new video piece that reconstructs Kagemusha through Kurosawa’s paintings and sketches
  • A series of Suntory Whiskey commercials made on the set of Kagemusha
  • A gallery of storyboards painted by Kurosawa and images of their realization on-screen
  • Theatrical trailers and teasers
  • Optional English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by scholar Peter Grilli and and interview with Kurosawa by renowned critic Tony Rayns

 

Lost in America Blu-ray cover art

LOST IN AMERICA (USA 1985) | Blu-ray | 29 March 2021

In this hysterical satire of Reagan-era values, written and directed by Albert Brooks (Modern Romance), a successful Los Angeles advertising executive (Brooks) and his wife (Airplane’s JULIE HAGERTY) decide to quit their jobs, buy a Winnebago, and follow their Easy Rider fantasies of freedom and the open road. When a stop in Las Vegas nearly derails their plans, they’re forced to come to terms with their own limitations and those of the American dream. Brooks’s barbed wit and confident direction drive Lost in Americaa high point in the string of restless comedies about insecure characters searching for satisfaction in the modern world that established his unique comic voice and transformed the art of observational humour.

DIRECTOR APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY FEATURES:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • New conversation with director Albert Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide
  • New interviews with actor Julie Hagerty, executive producer Herb Nanas, and comic writer and director James L. Brooks
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Scott Tobias

 

Defending Your Life Blu-ray cover art

DEFENDING YOUR LIFE (USA 1991) | Blu-ray | 29 March 2021

Is there love after death? Acerbic everyman Albert Brooks finds a perfect balance between satirical bite and romantic comedy charm as the writer, director, and star of this wonderfully warm and imaginative existential fantasy. After he dies suddenly, the hapless advertising executive Daniel Miller (Brooks) finds himself in Judgment City, a gleaming way station where the newly deceased must prove they lived a life of sufficient courage to advance in their journey through the universe. As the self-doubting Daniel struggles to make his case, a budding relationship with the uninhibited Julia (The French Lieutenant’s Woman’s Meryl Streep) offers him a chance to finally feel alive. Buoyed by a brilliant supporting cast that includes Rip Torn, Lee Grant, and Buck Henry, Defending Your Life is a rare feat of personal, philosophical filmmaking that happens to also be divinely entertaining.

DIRECTOR APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY FEATURES:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Albert Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • New conversation between Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide
  • New interview on the afterlife with theologian and critic Donna Bowman
  • New program featuring excerpts from 1991 interviews with Brooks and actors Lee Grant and Rip Torn
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Ari Aster