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Snow Falling On Cedars [DVD] [2000]

4.4 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ethan Hawke, Max von Sydow, Yûki Kudô, Reeve Carney, Anne Suzuki
  • Directors: Scott Hicks
  • Writers: Scott Hicks, David Guterson, Ronald Bass
  • Producers: Carol Baum, David Guterson, Frank Marshall, Harry J. Ufland
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, German, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English, Dutch, German, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Czech
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Mar. 2010
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A5BTR
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,724 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Scott Hicks' screen adaptation of David Guterson's best-selling novel. On San Pietro Island, shortly after the end of World War Two, local fisherman Kazuo (Rick Yune) is on trial for the murder of another fisherman. The hearings are attended by Ishmael (Ethan Hawke), a local reporter who was also the childhood sweetheart of Kazuo's wife, Hatsue. As the hearings progress, Ishmael gradually begins to realise the extent of anti-Japanese feeling which still remains, and suspects that it could affect the course of the trial.

From Amazon.co.uk

Australian director Scott Hicks's Snow Falling on Cedars is far removed from the character-driven, pure storytelling of his previous movie, Shine, and a comparative plunge into moody atmospherics. Action insinuates itself through the director's determined eye for watercolour composition and free-floating perspective, like random shoots of new growth in an overwhelming rain forest. It's impossible to be complacent as a viewer because Hicks's meditative style paradoxically forces one to locate and make the story happen internally. The approach makes good aesthetic sense in that the story, based on David Guterson's bestselling novel, couches courtroom drama in dreamy textures, and Hicks is determined to reflect that even if it means turning an audience's idea of narrative on its head.

The director gets a lot of help from the weather in the Pacific Northwest: the setting is one of Washington State's San Juan Islands, where rain embraces earth and sky in a singular, introverted personality. There, a Japanese American war hero (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) stands accused of murdering a white fisherman in the years following World War II. His wife (Youki Kudoh) is the former childhood sweetheart and lover of a local newspaperman (Ethan Hawke) whose bitterness over the loss--as well as his helplessness during the internment of Japanese Americans, and the crusading legacy of his journalist father (Sam Shepard)--prevents him from coming to the defence of the accused man. Layered emotions, layered sensations, layered clouds. This is historical fiction of a sort that works best as an experience of time's relativity: flowing, stopping, trickling. Ironically, the film's most commercial element, the trial, is the least interesting aspect, though old pro Max Von Sydow makes those scenes great fun as a wily defence counsel. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I loved this book and was apprehensive about the film. Most films don't live up to their books but this one does. The scenery captures the mood and the filming is just right. The casting was superb and each actor adds to the love and sadness of the film. I don't buy many pre-recorded videos but I've ordered this one. Read the book and watch the film in any order.
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Format: DVD
I bought this film some months ago solely on the grounds that it had a picture of a Japanese girl on the cover - and it was cheap. (I have an interest in Chinese & Japanese culture) For the want of anything better to do, I got around to watching it last night, and I was engrossed from beginning to end. It is not full of star actors yet the cast is excellent. The cinematography is outstanding and the crew was blessed with spectacular weather and location shots - it still needs expert direction and camera work to exploit these factors - and this film has them both. The plot is a slowly unravelling drama centred on a small coastal community of American and Japanese at the time of Pearl Harbour; it show just a glimpse of the appalling treatment of Japanese Americans at the hands of the US Government and `ordinary' American citizens. Two central roles are played by Ethan Hawke and Yuoki Kudoh - their young selves being played by Reeve Carney and the excellent Anne Suzuki - you can easily see why he was so utterly captivated by her. Much of the film takes place in a courtroom as the drama unfolds. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird - there the `victim' is of a different colour; in this film, the innocent on trial, largely because of prejudice, is of a different race. It is all impeccably handled. I'm not going to give anything away about the plot which is actually quite ordinary; what brings this film to life are the locations, cinematography and first-class acting. I just don't know why it isn't better known. Do yourself a favour and buy this film; this is how story-telling should be done.
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Format: DVD
I know this is subjective but for me Snow falling on Cedars is movie perfection.

The first few opening scenes set the mood for more or less the whole film.

A sort of claustrophobic intensity envelopes the whole story - from the hissing and clattering of the courtroom heating system to the snow that closes in the entire community.

Every character is perfectly drawn almost to the point of understatement - the actors seem to be the people - each performance is beautifully portrayed.

The themes explored are ones that to a greater or lesser degree affect most of us throughout our lives - loss, integrity, loyalty, prejudice, acceptance - all summed up in Max Von Sydow's closing courtroom summation.

Although the film is in colour, with a few notable and powerful exceptions, the overall impression is of a greyness or at best colours that are "washed"out. This is not a failing but greatly enhances the general ambience.

At times the film adopts an almost dream like quality as if the events are flowing through Ishmael's mind in a seemingly random fashion.

It is a film that can be watched many times as various nuances and subtleties become more apparent once you are familiar with the flow of the story.

I did read the book long before I saw the film and for me this is one of those very rare occasions when the adaptation to movie enhances the novel.

If you enjoy films with deep meaning, that celebrate the human spirit and provide hope that doing the right thing, however difficult it may be, can ultimately bring redemption then Snow Falling on Cedars is a gentle masterpiece!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An unusual movie, which portrays and explores many aspects of human feelings and emotions in a sensitive and perceptive manner.
Two children growing up in a small coastal town in Washington state just before the second world war - a boy and a girl - their feelings grow for each other through their adolescence but there is a problem - she is of Japanese ancestry - how does this influence their relationship - and interwoven with that is the cruel internment suffered by her people during the war.
But the central plot of the movie revolves around the death of a fisherman at sea - was it murder or accident - and the subsequent court case and trial of the suspect.
The whole story is complex, deep feelings and emotions interwoven with harsh realities of life - portrayed and told with sensitivity and insight.
I wished there could be a happy ending for everyone - but life isn't like that.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this film some months ago solely on the grounds that it had a picture of a Japanese girl on the cover - and it was cheap. (I have an interest in Chinese & Japanese culture) For the want of anything better to do, I got around to watching it last night, and I was engrossed from beginning to end. It is not full of star actors yet the cast is excellent. The cinematography is outstanding and the crew was blessed with spectacular weather and location shots - it still needs expert direction and camera work to exploit these factors - and this film has them both. The plot is a slowly unravelling drama centred on a small coastal community of American and Japanese at the time of Pearl Harbour; it show just a glimpse of the appalling treatment of Japanese Americans at the hands of the US Government and `ordinary' American citizens. Two central roles are played by Ethan Hawke and Yuoki Kudoh - their young selves being played by Reeve Carney and the excellent Anne Suzuki - you can easily see why he was so utterly captivated by her. Much of the film takes place in a courtroom as the drama unfolds. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird - there the `victim' is of a different colour; in this film, the innocent on trial, largely because of prejudice, is of a different race. It is all impeccably handled. I'm not going to give anything away about the plot which is actually quite ordinary; what brings this film to life are the locations, cinematography and first-class acting. I just don't know why it isn't better known. Do yourself a favour and buy this film; this is how story-telling should be done.
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