Thinking Outside the Box

Inside Criterion / FYI — Dec 14, 2009

We were amazed at how many e-mails we received from people saying they already had twenty of the titles included in the new box set AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa. A big thank-you to all who contacted us about this. It’s never our aim to make you buy the same title over again. If we do rerelease a title, it’s because we feel it merits a new edition: a new transfer or new supplements, frequently both. We thought (and still think) of AK 100 as a great way to introduce your friends to Kurosawa—it’s really a magnificent present.

To answer the most frequently asked question: yes, we will be releasing separately the five titles in the set that had previously been unavailable from Criterion: Sanshiro Sugata; The Most Beautiful; Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two; The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail; and Madadayo.

As for other Kurosawa plans, we had hoped to celebrate the actual centenary, in March, with a Blu-ray edition of Seven Samurai, but weeks of additional restoration have turned into months—yes, it looks really amazing—and the release won’t be until later in 2010. Instead, on March 23, we’ll be releasing Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Sanjuro. They look great, too. A last word about AK 100: if you haven’t had a chance to pick up, feel, and look at this beautiful, linen-bound box, you should. The design is great, and the book inside is wonderful. There are many iconic stills from the movies that you’ll certainly recognize, but what’s especially neat is that Kurosawa himself appears in many of the images, just outside the framing with which you’re familiar. It’s fascinating to see where he placed himself in the process.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season.

Jonathan