It’s official: Criterion’s first Blu-ray Kurosawa will be Ran.
The single disc release will be available on 12 May 2009, and based on what I see on the product page, it seems like a straightforward update to the DVD edition, except for the “Image: Kurosawa’s Continuity” video, which for some (possibly license related) reason is not included on the Blu-ray release.
Criterion’s product page notes the following:
– New, restored high-definition digital transfer
– Audio commentary by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
– An appreciation of the film by director Sidney Lumet
– A.K., a 74-minute film by director Chris Marker
– A 30-minute documentary on the making of Ran, part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
– A 35-minute video piece reconstructing Ran through Kurosawa’s paintings and sketches, created as part of the series Image: Kurosawa’s Continuity (NOTE: not included in the Blu-ray edition)
– New video interview with actor Tatsuya Nakadai
– Theatrical trailers
– New and improved English subtitle translation
– Plus: a 28-page booklet featuring film critic Michael Wilmington and interviews with Kurosawa and composer Toru Takemitsu
Wherever it says “new” and/or “improved”, I assume that it means “as compared to releases prior to the DVD release”, not “when compared to the DVD release”. In other words, I see no reason to expect a new transfer, just a new encoding.
In case you are interested in the Blu-ray disc and already own the Criterion DVD, you may be interested in the Criterion DVD swap program.