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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic restoration
Masters of Cinema and Eureka deserve special kudos for this release -- the film looks absolutely wonderful. The lush black and white photography is reporduced gloriously, as is the beautiful soundtrack. The introduction by Alex Cox and the full-length commentary by director Shindo and composer Hayashi are well-done and will deepen the viewers' appreciation and...
Published on 19 May 2006 by Larry L. Looney

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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Shindo
Anyone who enjoys the primal erotic horror of “Onibaba” (& who doesn’t?) might be tempted by this earlier Shindo film. But beware. “The Naked Island” is totally different. It’s a social realist movie documenting a poor farming family as they eek out an existence on a tiny southern Japanese island, occasionally venturing onto...
Published on 14 Feb 2006 by hj


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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic restoration, 19 May 2006
By 
Larry L. Looney (Austin, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
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Masters of Cinema and Eureka deserve special kudos for this release -- the film looks absolutely wonderful. The lush black and white photography is reporduced gloriously, as is the beautiful soundtrack. The introduction by Alex Cox and the full-length commentary by director Shindo and composer Hayashi are well-done and will deepen the viewers' appreciation and understanding of this masterpiece.

The lack of dialogue and other social-realist stylistic aspects of this film will make it not everyone's cup of tea -- it's certainly not going to hold the attention of action-film buffs -- but the director and cinematographer have done a masterful job in conveying in depth all of the aspects of the lives of the characters. Repeated images echo the rhythms of life, the dogged march of time, the cycles of the seasons and years. All ranges of emotion are portrayed -- joy, sorrow, determination in the face of terrible odds, pain, hard work, rewards, devotion. Alex Cox mentions Bresson in his introduction -- and I can certainly see the parallels with his work.

This film is an essential addition to my library -- I recommend it highly, and I'm grateful to those who have made it available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film to ponder, 19 Oct 2013
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Superficially, this is a detailed documentary charting the annual and perpetual toil of a Japanese couple and their two young boys on an island, as they strive to exist - it is little more than that - cultivating a rocky hillside, with no access to fresh water other than by making repeated journeys by boat to carry it in by the bucket-load from the near-bye mainland to irrigate their meagre crops.These tortuous journeys, and climbs made by each carefully balancing two buckets brimming with the precious liquid on a pole across their shoulders, form the main focus of a substantial proportion of the film, and certainly the film's most abiding image.
Yet this is no documentary: the family members are all actors, and the carefully, and often beautifully, composed shots and sequences in this handsome letterboxed black and white film reveal that there is little here that is not carefully considered and worked upon. The dramatic use of natural sounds and music, and the careful observation of significant and sometimes dramatic details also reveal this, as does the often careful placing of actors and camera to produce patterning and symmetry within the frame. Yet, despite twice here referring to the dramatic, the film as a whole is not conventionally so. With the exception of one tragedy, and its immediate aftermath, which it would be unfair to reveal, the film carries little plot or story, only observation of the daily, and annual, routine. It is even essentially without dialogue, as seem to be the islanders' lives: even at moments of extreme stress, and there are several, not a word is uttered.
It may be a great film - I am not sure - but if it is, it has nothing to do with story or characterisation, but rather with what it suggests and implies -- about the human condition, about relationships between the sexes, about the effects of extreme poverty and isolation even close beside civilisation and relative plenty, about the ageless nature of human suffering and endurance, perhaps even, in a post- nuclear Japan, about the effects on people of being reduced to a subsistence level where all that matters is survival, and there in no space for any form of interaction or activity which is not focused on that. Despite its seeming objectivity, the final effect of the film is almost mythic and symbolic (others have been reminded of the Greek myth of Sisyphus) and certainly intensely moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost Shino masterpiece!, 19 July 2013
By 
Brent Bechtel "The Phoenician Cinephile" (Phoenix,Arizona) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: NAKED ISLAND, The (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY) (Blu-ray)
This is a truly and unique film for those who,at times,wished they had lived in another lifetime.This film gives a viewer the chance to embrace that while belonging consciously within the context of the film.This corresponding takes the chance to actually become a part of the story as it evolves.You simply must watch the film to catch all the subtleties of living on an island,at that time,not yet devalued by he scurge known as capitalism way to escape modern day live for close to two hours.Thumbs way up! A sublte,yet infintely rewarding cinematatic journey.Peace 8)
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Shindo, 14 Feb 2006
By 
Anyone who enjoys the primal erotic horror of “Onibaba” (& who doesn’t?) might be tempted by this earlier Shindo film. But beware. “The Naked Island” is totally different. It’s a social realist movie documenting a poor farming family as they eek out an existence on a tiny southern Japanese island, occasionally venturing onto mainland coastal villages & towns to sell their wares. There’s almost no dialogue, just lush music, but the film is very beautifully shot & skilfully put together, gradually drawing the viewer in and, when tragedy strikes the family, the effect is undeniably very moving.
This type of humanist cine-poem was in vogue internationally in the late 50s/early 60s & “The Naked Island” won lots of film festival awards, but such movies can seem quite dated – this mix of realism with lyricism & pathos is certainly open to criticism.
However, Japanophiles will find the scenes of now vanished village life fascinating & fans of Japanese cinema will find the movie historically interesting.
Eureka’s “Masters of Cinema” series has done a great job with this: a restored print, a short but interesting intro from Alex Cox, plus a booklet with essays & reprints of Joan Mellon’s Shindo interview. Last but not least there is also a complete version of the film accompanied by audio commentary (fully subtitled) from the now 90 year old director!
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5.0 out of 5 stars WHETHER BLURAY OR DVD IS ALL RIGHT., 8 Feb 2014
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HAN XIAO "heaven851102" (CHINA) - See all my reviews
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WHETHER BLURAY OR DVD IS ALL RIGHT. SAME FILM, SAME BONUS MATERIALS(UHH...WHAT?), ALMOST ORDINARY STANDARD PACKAGE. IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO BUY BLURAY?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece restoration, 10 July 2012
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Anna Spinelli "bibliophile" (Ravenna, Italie) - See all my reviews
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I had already seen this wonderful, unique movie, but this edition has some important features that make it unmissable! First, the choice to use a copy of the original film with the B/W as it is, as it might have been maybe, but at least not the too much unnatural brilliant masterisation used fod dvds. Second, the film is at full lenght. Third there is a very interesting booklet within; fourth the dvd features a commentary of the director and the author of the beautiful score, with a good translation of it. I think all this makes of this edition a real collector's piece.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic art, 8 Jan 2013
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Arrived in perfect condition. Classic cinema of a simple theme. Not everyone's taste as it's a silent B/W. Better than the recent silent masterpiece 'The Aritst'.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUPS!, 25 Feb 2010
By 
MAMIE4 "MAMIE4" (QUEBEC-QC-CANADA) - See all my reviews
OUPS!
How can I say "OUPS!" about such a masterpiece?
Well I live in Canada and our TV standard is not the same as the one in UK and Europe in general, was I told.

So I am looking for a way to have the movie translated to OUR standard, and then, after seing it again after some 35 years, write a comment.

PS : I wish something within the order formula, would help us north americans (Canada + USA) remember to ask about the standard the ordered movie is in. Is it something too demanding for what it is worth or would it be indulging a brat or is it simple?

Mamie Cath Quebec, Canada.
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NAKED ISLAND, The (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY)
NAKED ISLAND, The (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY) by Kaneto SHINDO (Blu-ray - 2013)
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