An Actor’s Revenge

An Actor’s Revenge
 
(Yukinojo Henge) 
 
(Kon Ichikawa, 1963)
 
Rating: 4.5/5 
 

Reviewed by Dave Lancaster 
 
Summary: A tour-de-force in terms of direction, storytelling, cinematography, score and mis-en-scene, An Actor’s Revenge is a must-have entry in Japan’s rich filmic history.
 
First off, the BFI have done an absolutely remarkable job on the transfer for An Actor’s Revenge. Having had the old DVD and now being fortunate enough to review the Blu-ray upgrade, the difference is staggering. 
 
So much of the film is drenched in blackness - a nightmare to truly represent the depth and true colour of on disc - which makes what is highlighted in the frame a responsibility to get clearly defined and vibrantly positioned. This Blu-ray does that and more. Considering the source material is well over 50 years old, this is a reference quality material. 
 
 
As for the film itself, well, that’s another winner. Kon Ichikawa’s hodgepodge of cinematic styles is put to great effect with An Actor’s Revenge - a film that is concerned with ideas of presentation, representation, criticism and beauty. The plot has a Theatre of Blood meets Kill Bill vibe whereby a conniving thespian exacts a long-delayed revenge on the arrogant men whose actions resulted in a family tragedy.
 
A tour-de-force in terms of direction, storytelling, cinematography, wide-ranging score and luscious mis-en-scene, An Actor’s Revenge is a must-have entry in Japan’s rich filmic history. And this BFI Blu-ray is the disc to have in your collection for sure.  
 
Features on the BFI Dual Format release: 
 
  • New 4K restoration presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
  • New audio commentary by critic, programmer, and Japanese film expert Tony Rayns
  • 100 Years of Japanese Film (Nagisa Oshima, 1995, 52 mins): the award winning director of In the Realm of the Senses (1976), explores the first century of Japanese cinema
  • Oriental Splendour, Japan Pays Homage, To Rid Their Souls of Evil, and In Old Japan (1927-1930, 4 mins): four films about Japan made for the Topical Budget newsreel
  • Fully illustrated booklet with new writing by James Bell, Espen Bale, and Vic Pratt, plus original review and full film credits
 
Japan | 1963 | colour | 113 minutes | Japanese language with English subtitles | original aspect ratio 16:9 (2.35:1) | Cert 15 (Brief strong violence, sex references, suicide) | 1 x BD50: 1080p, 24fps, PCM 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/24-bit), Region B | 1 x DVD9: PAL, 25fps, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio (320kbps), Region 2
 

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