Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Great Moments in Movie Shelves #107

One of my favorite movie libraries is in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2001 horror film Kairo (aka Pulse), which is getting a big fancy blu-ray release from the ever-amazing Arrow Video on July 11th... just in time for my birthday! The character of Ryosuke (played by Haruhiko Katô) is doing what horror movie characters since time immemorial have done - going to the library to figure out what in the living (or I should say not living, in this case) fuck is going on.

There's some subtle comedy involving him attempting to find the exit - that sign seen above, supposedly pointing towards a way out, is actually pointing nowhere, which is both funny and totally on message for the hopeless and despairing mood of Pulse as a whole. 

The funny thing about this ghost town of a library is that it is perhaps the most crowded location in the entire film - there are several "people" seen milling about, all in the distance, just seen as indistinct brownish shadows of movement. Ryosuke does manage to bump into a friend, and what book is she reading?

Of course!  
Pulse maintains its mood like few others.

His friend takes Ryosuke to a computer station (in case you've never seen the film the gist is that there's no more room in hell so the dead are now entering our world via the internet) to show him this weird spectral glitch, and then Ryosuke goes to do some reading of his own. At which point...

... one of my favorite shots in the entire film happens.

Jinkies! Kiyoshi Kurosawa clearly understands the way every library feels haunted by the dead - dusty books piled up, walls upon walls of the voices of the long gone speaking to us from the past. History is a ghost story.

You should definitely snap up a copy of Pulse when it hits blu-ray next week - the transfer is beautiful and the extras are first rate; there are two that I want to draw special attention to. There is a long talk with Kiyoshi Kurosawa about his career leading up to Pulse and the making of the movie that's ace - I learned he's a huge fan of Tobe Hooper! (Excellent taste, Kiyoshi.)

And there's a really fascinating and insightful interview with the film-making duo of Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett (behind You're Next and The Guest and the latest Blair Witch movie) who are huge nerds for the movie and really get it. If you want a list of all the special features on the disc hit the jump...

- High Definition digital transfer
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original 5.1 audio (DTS-HD on the Blu-ray)
- New optional English subtitle translation
- New interview with writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
- New interview with cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi
- The Horror of Isolation: a new video appreciation featuring Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett (Blair Witch, You're Next)
- Archive 'Making of' documentary, plus four archive behind-the-scenes featurettes
- Premiere footage from the Cannes Film Festival
- Cast and crew introductions from opening day screenings in Tokyo
- Trailers and TV Spots
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tommy Pocket

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Chuck Stephens

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