Criterion’s invaluable Eclipse label has just released a box set of four films by lesser known Japanese master Hiroshi Shimizu, which is cause for celebration. But there is a Japanese version of the set, produced by Shochiku and released last year, that has such gorgeous packaging that I’d almost be tempted to pay three times the price to buy this on import (it even has English subtitles). And on top of that there is a second box of four more films not yet available in the US.
I’ve seen a handful of Shimuzus over the years—including the wonderfully titled Mr. Thank You included in the Eclipse set—and all of them were terrific. Shimzu was a master of the tracking shot and preferred to shoot outdoors: a perfect combination for this viewer.