Sunday, July 15, 2007

Widescreen vs. Pan and Scan: a case study


We initially bought Panorama's subtitled version of Yoji Yamada's Haruka naru yama no yobigoe (1980). Though it claimed to be a letterboxed widescreen version on its box -- it turned out to be panned and scanned. While the film was wonderful, the DVD was (shall we say) less than fully satisfactory. Consequently, I broke down and got the Japanese Shochiku DVD, which was properly formatted and digitally restored (albeit unsubtitled). A few comparison shots below (hopefully no detailed comments required):





























































3 comments:

HarryTuttle said...

Like you say, the photos tell more than words. Good job. Who ever greenlights such butchery??? How come the integrity of the image is so low on the concerns of producers?

The sad thing is that most audience wouldn't care, even if they were aware of the loss, they are content of getting more "close up's".

Michael Kerpan said...

It's too bad that the only subbed version of this film is so poor -- as this is surely one of Yamada's nicest films. Luckily most of his other 'scope format (no-Tora-sam) films at least are presented in 1.85:1 format. Yamada has a wonderful sense of composition (at least in his best films).

Yoji Yamada's work is wildly underestimated in the West. In his history of Japanese cinema, Donald Richie gave him only a single sentence. ;~}

Rüdiger Tomczak said...

Yes, it is a shame what Panorama did with this film. I saw a few late films by yamada during some editions of the Berlin Filmfestival and despite the popularity of his films and despite the fact that his films are accessible - his images are often very rich and complex. I myself own this Panorama DVD and it is really a piece of s...