The brief but prodigious career of Japanese director Sadao Yamanaka resulted in a catalogue of work characterised by an elegant and unforced visual style, fluid editing, and a beautiful attention to naturalistic performances. Although he made 22 films over a six - year period (before dying of dysentery in a Japanese Imperial Army outpost in Manchuria at the age of 28), only three of them survive, collected here for the first time in the West. Tange Sazen: The Million Ry ô Pot
is a gloriously comic adventure yarn as the titular one - eyed, one - armed swordsman becomes embroiled in the hunt for a missing pot that points the way to hidden treasure. In K ôchiyama S ôshun
, a subversively humanistic adaptation of a classic kabuki play, a small but invaluable knife stolen from a samurai leads to a chain of an increasingly complex and troublesome set of circumstances. His last film, Humanity and Paper Balloons
, is an unsparing ensemble drama set among the lowest rungs of Japanese society in the 18th century.
The Masters of Cinema Series is delighted to present these treasures of world cinema in a long - awaited two - disc DVD set, including rarely - seen fragments of two other lost Yamanaka films. SPECIAL TWO - DISC DVD EDITION:
REVIEWS: " Humanity and Paper Balloons is a beautifully shot and well told story "
- New digital transfers of all three films
- New English subtitle translations
- Rare fragments of other lost Yamanaka films
- A lengthy booklet, including Yamanaka's will, excerpts from his diaries, essays by Tony Rayns, Shinji Aoyama, Kimitoshi Sat ô, and more
- DVD Times " There really isn't any questions whether this should be part of your cineaste DVD collection. It is tantamount to being imperative. "
- DVD Beaver " Humanity and Paper Balloons is a fascinating time capsule of a movie that not only reframes the feudal period in which it is set to present a harsh critique of the social and political conditions of the time it was made, but also demonstrates just how tight, coherent, and entertaining films from this period actually were. "
- Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye