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Brief introduction of a lurker


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    I hope I am posting this one in the right place.

    To introduce myself, I would say that I am a french fellow, involved in infographic teaching, web site conception, discussion board management, very interested in web practices about communication, information, community contribution, privacy, etc., fond of languages, literature, online roleplay games, and, last but not least, cinema.

    I discovered Akira Kurosawa’s works four or five years ago, following a friend’s advice about an opportunity on a cheap selling of several films, the first bought being Seven Samurai, Ikiru, The Low Depths, Yojimbo.

    From this time, I fell in love with his works, and decided (crazily?) not to rest until I have seen all of them and, indeed, my DVD collection has well grown up since.

    My admiration toward his works (and my needs as a DVD consumer) incited me to build this little illustrated list.

    I hesitated before posting this link, because it has a very restricted interest (helping french-speaking people to find adequate DVD editions of the films, and gathering informative links about them), but I can see that there are folks from various countries coming around this very web site, so it might help one or two of them; moreover, I find interesting to compare the different covers/pictures used to depict the same film; some of the films may be non-existent in english-speaking DVD regions (Dodesukaden?); and, finally, I hope, some day, finding enough time and motivation to link this page to a database and to complete it with english-speaking editions (and maybe other languages).

    To conclude this short introduction, I would say that I greatly appreciate akirakurosawa.info (surprisingly, and despite the worldly renown of Kurosawa, good specialized web sites about his works are not this common), and I find the recent idea of a film club very interesting (I am not sure to know cinema and japanese culture enough to bring relevant points of view on the boards, but I may occasionally raise one or two questions).

    So this post is a (not so) disguised “I do not speak, but I read you, thanks for writing”.


    Vili Maunula

    Welcome to the group, Fabien!

    Also I am building something of a DVD list with my list of Akira Kurosawa DVDs on this site. My original intention was to include all editions, but there are simply too many in the world, so for now it is a “buyer’s guide” for the English-speaking world. I am still planning to include at least French, Spanish and Japanese editions one day, but then again I want to do so much with the site and constantly have so little time.

    Another idea for the website that I have had is to include all the posters, VHS and DVD covers for each film, for like you I find it very interesting to compare the different ways in which these films have been depicted. Again, however, there just isn’t the time… But I must say that whenever I see French editions of Kurosawa DVDs, I marvel at their design. Personally, I think that in terms of their covers French releases (not just Kurosawa) tend to look much better than what we get from the US or the UK.



    Indeed, I had already seen, and mostly read, your DVD page, and it’s not that easy to find such informative, readable, well presented summaries.

    If you ever get to your posters & covers project, feel free to use my page, and I would be pleased to bring together for you higher resolution versions of these, as long as it does not infringe intellectual property (I may be wrong, but I think that slightly bigger pictures than those presently on our sites wouldn’t be seen as a violation, and such summaries would be seen as fair use, but international management of intellectual property seems so complicated…).

    As for the design, I find that some french releases’ designs based on actual photography are really nice, and, on the other hand, I find some creative and/or symbolic Criterion designs really attractive too (The Bad Sleep Well, new version of High and Low, Seven Samurai…).

    The most difficult thing is probably for the designer to match the spirit of the movie.

    One of my preferred is The Quiet Duel (from Ronin Ent.), thanks to the excellent photography showing Toshiro with black gloves, and to the brilliant and sharp idea of the overhanging scalpel.


    Vili Maunula

    Thanks, Fabien! I’ll let you know once I really start the work on posters!



    Finally, I managed to spare some time, and rebuilt my site from the ground.

    Henceforth, it relies on a real database (more easily updated) and presents an alternative version for english readers.

    It has been completed with some missing Criterion releases, with nearly all BFI, Madman, Toho, Yume Pictures, Kadokawa, Eureka Video releases, with some releases from Fox, Warner, Mei Ah, Bo Ying, Shochiku, and with some other releases.

    I will try to complete this as far as possible, and to add as many links as possible to developed and useful reviews.

    I intend also to add a few tools to get a list of DVDs only for a specific region and/or language, to add a synopsis to each film page, to enhance the overall visual aspect, and to ensure proper accessibility and readability.

    If someone here has knowledge of detailed and (more or less) reliable web sites with technical information on DVDs or interesting film critics not linked on the site yet, please tell me.

    I will gladly accept, too, any criticism about the site (content, style or whatever).

    Vili, I took the liberty to slip some links to your “tag pages” related to specific films (like a link to Drunken Angel tagged topics on the Drunken Angel page).

    Let me know any matter or any wanted modification about that.

    The new home page (Akira Kurosawa’s films on DVD) is supposed to redirect you on the english or french speaking section, according to the language preferences set in your browser, if not (for any curious reason, or for lack of these preferences), here is the english section.


    Vili Maunula

    Excellent work, Fabien!

    Once I find the time, I’ll see if I can find my old list of international Kurosawa DVD releases for you. I had most European countries and South America covered before I threw up my hands and decided to concentrate only on English-friendly releases on this website. There has been a surprising number of releases in smaller countries.

    And feel free to link to this site in any manner you wish. 🙂 I just added a link to your site from the links section, and once I get around to publishing my movie-specific pages, I’ll have links to your site from the individual movie pages.



    I have updated the site with some releases of the last months and also with the expected release of Ikiru in the recent Essential Art House Criterion collection.

    This last point could be worth a News note, presented like a step toward good quality and cheaper releases of Kurosawa’s works; but maybe would it be wiser to wait for more feedbacks on this collection?

    By the way, I do not have much time to work on this, but I am still interested in your informations about international DVD releases.

    And thanks for your answer and for your link. =)


    Vili Maunula

    Thanks for the reminder, Fabien, I meant to write an article about the Rashomon release last week, but with everything else going on around me I simply forgot.

    I haven’t been able to find my file about international DVD releases, which just goes on to show how unorganised I am at the moment. I’ll let you know if it turns up!

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