The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Elegant Beast.
In this contemporary melodrama scripted by Kaneto Shindo, director Yuzo Kawashima creates a scathing depiction of greed and hypocrisy in a society facing rapid modernization and Westernization. The small apartment of the Maeda family is transformed by inventive and meticulous cinematography into a claustrophobic battleground where cheating, embezzlement, and corruption are natural occurrences and where the Maedas are turned from swindlers to swindled by a beautiful but mercenary accountant played by Ayako Wakao in a virtuoso performance. Little know outside of Japan, Yuzo Kawashima’s Elegant Beast is an underappreciated masterpiece in filmmaking and a bitter statement on what it took to get ahead in post-war Japan.
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New interview with critic, filmmaker, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
- New program with Eric Nyari on the film and its restoration
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by Japanese film scholar Tomoyuki Sasaki