SAITAMA IS WACK!
Municipal rivalries, bedroom community resentments, and capital city snobbery are made fantastically farcical in Hideki Takeuchi’s adaptation of Mineo Maya’s cult manga. In this alternate Japan, Tokyo is a luxurious metropolis surrounded by impoverished prefectures living in near feudal-era conditions. Momomi Dannoura (Fumi Nikaido), son of Tokyo’s governor and possessor of striking feminine beauty, rules a baroquely decorated academy and disdains the presence of any non-Tokyoites, particularly those from the Saitama prefecture. The arrival of the mysterious transfer student Rei Asami (GACKT) sparks an undeniable attraction in Momomi and starts a war of liberation between the disrespected prefectures and the opulent megacity. Can love and regional pride overcome big city corruption?
Fly Me to the Saitama is Japanese lunatic satire at its finest, balancing a storm of local inside jokes with universal tensions between slick urbanites and commuter belt wastelands. In between, the film stuffs wacky battles, gender-bending characters, outlandish wigs and costumes, and plenty of historical anachronisms all delivered with disarmingly earnest performances from a stellar cast. Book your ticket to this award-winning, box office smash and accept your Saitamafication!
Special Edition Contents:
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Uncompressed Stereo PCM
- Newly translated English subtitles
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary with director Hideki Takeuchi, creator Mineo Maya, and crew
- Audio commentary by Japanese film scholar Mark Shilling
- Interviews with cast and crew
- Reverse Country Boasting Japan’s No. 1 Final Battle, a special promotional program for the film
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Deleted scenes
- Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork choices
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by manga and cosplay scholar Emerald L. King and a new printing of Mineo Maya’s original 188-page manga
In anticipation of our next proposal for the Criterion Collection, MMC! will lead the way a series of “Son of Wholphin” posts focusing on a group of short films that will set a path to and through our next feature subject. We start with People of the Cumberland, a documentary short from 1937 directed by Elia Kazan, William Watts, Eugene Hill (credited as Jay Leyda), and Sidney Meyers (credited as Eugene Hill). The film concerns a progressive adult education project, Myles Horton’s Highlander Folk School, located in the mountain community of Monteagle, Tennessee. Demonstrating the School’s impact on the impoverished coal mining region, the short pivots toward the growing labour movement and advocates for a “new kind of America” free from economic exploitation and privation. The film was made under the auspices of the Work Projects Administration, a New Deal agency, and as part of the Federal Arts Project program. Written by Erskine Caldwell and Ben Maddow (credited as David Wolff), the short is an excellent document of its time and a rousingly populist essay thanks to the narration of Richard Blaine and the footage shot by Ralph Steiner.
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Phenix City Story.
Corruption, brutality, and vice plagued Phenix City, Alabama, for 100 years, so who would dare to change it? Based on real-life events and filmed on location in what was called Sin City USA, director Phil Karlson’s semi-documentary tears this jolting tale from its Pulitzer Prize-winning headlines and tells the story of those citizens who risked their lives to bring down the burg’s syndicate of thugs and murderers. Signalling the end of stylish film noir and pointing to the crime-busting exposés that followed, this classic B-noir remains indelible for its shockingly transgressive violence, its unsettling authenticity, and its subtextual awareness of the struggling civil rights movement.
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Phil Karlson: The Core of Fact, a short appreciation featuring writer/film historian Alan K. Rode
- New interview with critics and one-time Alabamans Jonathan Rosenbaum and Nathaniel Thompson
- Historic photos of Sin City-era Phenix City
- PLUS: An essay by critic R. Emmet Sweeney
The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival went globe-trotting to start Day 2. The “Drawn from Around the World” block of animated shorts offered some enthralling works. Many conveyed a sad or lamenting poignancy. Keiro (Tatiana Jusewycz, Benoît Leloup, Franck Menigoz, Zoé Nérot, and Charlotte Poncin, 2016) traced a girl’s journey to adulthood and its effect on the giant creature that accompanies her, Beyond the Books (Jérôme Battistelli, Mathilde Cartigny, Nicolas Evain, Maéna Paillet, Robin Pelissier, and Judith Wahler, 2017) envisioned the highly detailed collapse of an impossibly immense library, the Spanish short Dead Horses (Marc Riba and Anna Solanas, 2016) revealed the brutality of war from a child’s perspective and amid fabric devastation, and the Indian film Schirkoa (Asian Shukla, 2017) imagined political strife in a world where citizens wear bags and boxes on their heads. Others brought the funny, like Daniel Sterlin-Altman’s Hi, It’s Your Mother (2017), about motherhood, blood loss, and middle class living told in crude claymation, and Deuspi (Megacomputer, 2017), a very short work about a pair of astonishingly inept stick-up men and their hilarious fates.
HE SELLS DEATH TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER!
After his iconic role as Sergio Corbucci’s Django, Franco Nero teamed up once again with the Spaghetti Western’s “other Sergio” to become The Mercenary. Nero plays Kowalski, a Polish mercenary who sells his expertise to a band of Mexican outlaws led by Paco Roman (Tony Musante), and aids them as they seek to support the revolution and themselves. When the Federal Army closes in, loyalties and political philosophies become strained between Kowalski, Paco, and their beautiful revolutionary ally Columba (Giovanna Ralli). Jack Palance joins Corbucci’s fabulous cast as Curly, Kowalski’s dandified rival and cutthroat villain. With a memorable score by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai, The Mercenary is a political statement with loads of commercial appeal, presented here in an exclusive high-definition restoration from the original Techniscope negative.
- Brand new restoration from the original 35mm Techniscope camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono audio
- Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
- Brand new interview with star Franco Nero
- How to Make a Revolution – featurette on the film’s production including interviews with Franco Nero, Tony Musante, Sergio Corbucci, Nora Corbucci, Luciano Vincenzoni, and Eugenio Alabiso
- US, European, and international trailers
- Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Austin Fisher and Howard Hughes
Patriotism has never been as trippy as it is in Vincent Collins’ 200 (1975), a psychedelic commission from the US Information Agency for the American bicentennial. We were lucky enough to see the short in Kier-La Janisse’s latest Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon Party and the audience loved it (particularly the moment when hamburgers come sailing from the Horn of Plenty). So salute the flag and check yourself for epilepsy, just as the founding fathers intended!
200 coincidentally marks MMC!‘s 200th post! Big thanks to you crazy kids (both of you) who stop by MMC!‘s tiny corner of the worldwide inter webs, and thanks in advance to that lone reader who will see us to 400!