The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Shunji Iwai’s White Films – Love Letter, April Story and hana & alice.
Few filmmakers capture the wonder and angst of young adulthood like Japanese writer-director Shunji Iwai. With the hazy, sentimental lens of his regular cinematographer Noboru Shinoda, Iwai’s early feature films explore pivotal moments in teenage life through the mundane challenges of the everyday. Audiences quickly embraced Iwai’s treatment of grief and love with his smash debut Love Letter, about a woman rediscovering her late fiancé through letters exchanged with his former classmate. Linked by their cold introductions, Iwai and Shinoda’s subsequent films – 1998’s April Story, about a shy girl’s move to university, and 2004’s romantic con-job hana & alice – trace the changing times as much as the changing hearts of their characters, and collapse style and substance into lyrical poetry. These “White Films” express Shunji Iwai’s unique view on young love and loneliness and exemplify the dreamy landscapes he nostalgically maps in his films.
SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTORS’ SET FEATURES:
- 4K digital restorations, approved by filmmaker Shunji Iwai, with new 5.1 surround soundtrack mix presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
- Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 live-streamed tribute, masterclass, and Career Achievement Award with Shunji Iwai, hosted by Ariel Esteban Cayer
- Animated storyboards for Love Letter
- Music videos directed by Iwai and featuring April Story star and pop singer Takako Matsu
- Filming of H&A, an 80-minute behind-the-scenes feature on the making of hana & alice
- Four short films featuring Hana and Alice
- Theatrical trailers and TV spots
- New English subtitle translations
- PLUS: Essays by Japanese film scholar David Desser and critics Grady Hendrix and Hayley Scanlon