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This year's film club schedule

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    Vili Maunula

    As I was looking at this year’s film club schedule and the availability of the individual films, I noticed that Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (scheduled for October 2013) has become rather unavailable, unless one is willing to pay quite a bit for copies on eBay or Amazon marketplace. This is disappointing, as I was rather looking forward to seeing the film.

    I am now wondering if we should change the October film to something else? And if we should, what?

    Since it is supposed to be a pairing with Sanjuro, there are plenty of options. We could either watch another Yojimbo remake like Last Man Standing, or we could take a look at the 2008 remake Tsubaki Sanjuro, which wasn’t particularly good but could be interesting to discuss as a representative of the recent round of Japanese Kurosawa remakes. It is also available with English subtitles. I think that the quite affordable Amazon.co.jp disc has English subtitles, and at least the ones from CD Japan (also limited edition) and Japanese Samurai DVD do. Of course, with postage, these may end up costing the same as getting one of those Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo discs, but at least the availability seems better.

    What do you think?

    Another film that I was looking at is The Human Condition, which we (well, I) had planned to split over two months, December and February, due to the trilogy’s combined length of close to 10 hours. Do we still think that it needs two separate months, or should we just cram it into one — February. After all, discussion can always continue as long as it needs to, and I suppose we all are capable of watching three films within a month.

    This would open up an additional slot to pair a film with High and Low. But what would that be? I’d love to watch something like the 1977 Indian film Inkaar, which is supposedly a rather passable direct remake, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available with English subtitles. The full film is actually on YouTube, but alas, no subtitles.

    So, something else then, but what? Options could certainly include other films based on the “King’s Ransom” story by Ed McBain, or more loosely films like the 1996 Ransom. Or we could for instance watch something from Martin Scorsese and discuss Kurosawa’s influence on him and wonder if Scorsese ever gets his High and Low remake made.

    Too bad that the Japanese 2007 TV remake has no English subtitles.

    Thoughts?

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    lawless

    I invest in DVDs sparingly, so I vote for anything I can rent via Netflix. I guess for October that means an English-language Yojimbo remake like Last Man Standing. I’m also slower to watch movies than the rest of the people who are active on this site, so I’d rather be able to view and discuss The Human Condition (which Netflix tells me comes in four discs, not three) over two months rather than one, but maybe those months should be back-to-back instead of alternating. Also, since my barebones Netflix membership only allows me two discs a month, I need more than a month to watch the whole movie anyway.

    If, for some reason, another slot opens up, adding another movie based on “King’s Ransom” or which is similar to it or a Martin Scorsese movie is fine with me. I’m not that familiar with Scorsese’s oeuvre — I think The Last Temptation of Christ, which is probably atypical of his movies and style overall, is the only movie of his I’ve seen — so this would give me a chance to see something else of his, assuming that the assumption that Last Temptation would not be the film chosen.

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    Ugetsu

    I don’t have any strong feelings on which films to choose, but obviously the easier (and cheaper) they are to obtain the better. I quite like looking at modern remakes and I’ve never seen either Last Man Standing or Ransom so I’d be quite happy to watch either. As my main pc (which is also my dvd player) has expired I can’t watch anything much now, and so far as I can find none of those films are available in Region 2 for download via Netflix. Anything by Scorsese is fine for me, or maybe even the Godfather, which I haven’t watched in years, and would like to see to check for AK influences.

    I’d also agree with putting The Human Condition into one month. I’m looking forward to watching it, but maybe better to confine discussion to just one normal chunk.

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    Vili Maunula

    I’ve been mulling over this, perhaps a little longer than I should have. How about this plan:

    September 2013: Sanjuro (as scheduled)

    October 2013: Last Man Standing, Walter Hill (instead of Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo)

    November 2013: High and Low (as scheduled)

    December 2013: Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese (instead of The Human Condition)

    January 2014: Red Beard (as scheduled)

    February 2014: The Human Condition (whole trilogy)

    After which the schedule would continue as originally planned.

    I assume that Taxi Driver is available on Netflix? I thought we could choose it as it bears some thematic similarity to High and Low.

    I’m a bit disappointed that we cannot watch Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo, but the availability is not great.

    I understand that watching the whole Human Condition trilogy (which, unless I’m mistaken, should come in one Criterion release) is a bit more than what we usually plan for, and may be difficult for lawless for instance, I think it’s doable. And after all, discussion can and often does continue beyond the “scheduled month”.

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    Ugetsu

    It looks fine to me. I know The Human Condition will be a bit of a tough one, but I guess in those long dark nights of winter its nice to have an epic dvd watching task.

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    Vili Maunula

    In the end, the full Human Condition is just 10 hours or so — less than an average season of quality tv drama! 😉

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    lawless

    If Taxi Driver is not available from Netflix, at least in the US, I will eat my hat. And that’s before even checking its availability.

    Also, I have to apologize for the incoherent posts as of late; I haven’t had the time or patience to check them over carefully, and then I find howlers due to editing snafus like “assuming that the assumption that Last Temptation would not be the film chosen.” As you probably can guess, that should have been “assuming that Last Temptation would not be the film chosen.” Good grief. I can write better than that. ❗

    BTW, the revised schedule looks sensible. I’ll just have to deal with trailing along, or possibly not watching everything, when it comes to The Human Condition.

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    Amnesty11

    All sounds good Vili. 10 hours in Feb might not work for me considering my new sched but I will definitely give it a go. Glad to be back.

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    Vili Maunula

    Thanks, guys! We’ll go with this, then. I hope that The Human Condition will lure you in and we’ll end up discussing it for the better part of next spring. 😉

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