Eureka Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing an updated 1080p edition of THE NAKED ISLAND, the breakthrough film by Kaneto Shindô, director of such classics as Onibaba and Kuroneko. The brand new blu-ray edition of this classic of ’60s Japanese cinema, and Moscow International Film Festival winner of the Grand Prix will include copious special features including a full-length audio commentary by the director Shindô and composer Hikaru Hayashi, an exclusive video introduction by Alex Cox, and a 24-PAGE BOOKLET with an essay by Acquarello and Joan Mellen’s interview with the director. THE NAKED ISLAND will be released on blu-ray as part of the Masters of Cinema Series on 17 June 2013.
Filmed on the virtually deserted Setonaikai archipelago in south-west Japan, The Naked Island [Hadaka no shima] was made — in the words of its director — “as a ‘cinematic poem’ to try and capture the life of human beings struggling like ants against the forces of nature”. Kaneto Shindô (Onibaba, Kuroneko) made the film with his own production company, Kindaï Eiga Kyôkai, who were facing financial ruin at the time. Using one-tenth of the average budget, Shindô took one last impassioned risk to make this film. With his small crew, they relocated to an inn on the island of Mihari where, for two months in early 1960, they would make what they considered to be their last film.
The Naked Island tells the story of a small family unit and their subsistence as the only inhabitants of an arid, sun-baked island. Daily chores, captured as a series of cyclical events, result in a hypnotising, moving, and beautiful film harkening back to the silent era. With hardly any dialogue, Shindô combines the stark ‘Scope cinematography of Kiyoshi Kuroda with the memorable score of his constant collaborator Hikaru Hayashi, to make a unique cinematic document.
Shindô, who had worked with both Kenji Mizoguchi and Kon Ichikawa, shot to international fame in 1952 with the astounding Children of Hiroshima. Eight years later, the BAFTA-nominated The Naked Island won the Grand Prix at the Moscow International Film Festival (where Luchino Visconti was a jury member). It is now considered to be one of Shindô’s major works, and its success saved his film company from bankruptcy. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to release The Naked Island for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK.
– Newly restored 1080p transfer, in its 2.35:1 original aspect ratio
– Full-length audio commentary by director Kaneto Shindô and composer Hikaru Hayashi
– Video introduction by Alex Cox
– Optional English subtitles
– 24-page booklet with an essay by Acquarello, and a reprint of Joan Mellen’s interview with Shindô from Voices from the Japanese Cinema