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Metro ni Notte THX (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Metro ni Notte THX (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Salesman Shinji (Tsutsumi Shinichi) is at the subway station on his normal daily commute when he receives words that his estranged father has been hospitalized. Shinji's strained relationship with his unscrupulous father goes back many years, and the news awakens some unhappy memories. At that moment, he sees a person resembling his brother, who passed away forty years ago, leaving the platform, and he hurriedly follows. When Shinji steps out of the station, he finds himself in 1964...

Based on Asada Jiro's bestselling novel, Metro ni Notte, a.k.a. Riding the Metro, plays with both fantasy and psychological elements, jumping constantly between past and present as the protagonist journeys through time. Director Shinohara Tetsuo (Heaven's Bookstore and Yokubo) uses the time-traveling premise to bring new layers to classic family drama themes of spite and reconciliation. Like the acclaimed Always - Sunset on Third Street, which Tsutsumi Shinichi also appeared in, Metro ni Notte gives viewers a nostalgic glimpse of days gone by, traveling through forty years of time as reflected in the life of Shinji's father, played by popular actor Osawa Takao (Crying Out Love, In the Center of the World). The film also co-stars Tokiwa Takako (The Mamiya Brothers) and Okamoto Aya (Moonlight Jellyfish).

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Technical Information

Product Title: Metro ni Notte THX (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Metro ni Notte THX (DVD) (Standard Edition) (英文字幕) (日本版) Metro ni Notte THX (DVD) (Standard Edition) (英文字幕) (日本版) 地下鉄(メトロ)に乗って THXスタンダード・エディション THX スタンダード・エディション Metro ni Notte THX (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Tsutsumi Shinichi | Okamoto Aya | Tanaka Tami | Sasano Takashi | Hojo Takahiro | Yoshiyuki Kazuko | Tokiwa Takako | Osawa Takao 堤真一 | 岡本綾 | 田中泯 | 笹野高史 | Hojo Takahiro | 吉行和子 | 常盤貴子 | 大澤隆夫 堤真一 | Okamoto Aya | 田中泯 | 笹野高史 | Hojo Takahiro | 吉行和子 | 常盘贵子 | 大泽隆夫 堤真一 | 岡本綾 | 田中泯 | 笹野高史 | 北条隆博 | 吉行和子 | 常盤貴子 | 大沢たかお Tsutsumi Shinichi | Okamoto Aya | Tanaka Tami | Sasano Takashi | Hojo Takahiro | Yoshiyuki Kazuko | Tokiwa Takako | Osawa Takao
Director: Shinohara Tetsuo 篠原哲雄 篠原哲雄 篠原哲雄 Shinohara Tetsuo
Release Date: 2007-03-21
Publisher Product Code: GNBD-1178
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese
Country of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: Geneon Universal Entertainment
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004606779

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
篠原哲雄 (監督) / 堤真一 / 岡本綾 / 常盤貴子 / 浅田次郎 (原作)

[特典情報]
音声特典:篠原哲雄監督と美術の金田克美氏によるコメンタリー収録(副音声)/映像特典:劇場予告篇、キャスト&スタッフ・プロフィール(静止画データ)他


公開年 : 2006

[あらすじ]
いつもと同じ会社からの帰り道。地下鉄を降りて駅の階段を上がると、そこはオリンピック開催に沸く昭和39年の東京だった−。真次(堤真一)に突如訪れた、現実とも夢とも信じがたいタイムスリップ。真次は恋人みち子(岡本綾)とともに過去へ遡り、そこで若き日の父(大沢たかお)とその恋人(常盤貴子)に出会う。時空を超える旅を続けるうちに明らかになる、父の真実の姿。そして真次とみち子との間に隠された、驚くべき秘密。それは二人の愛に過酷な選択肢を突きつける、あまりにも切ない運命だった・・・。

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Awards

This film has received 1 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Metro ni Notte THX (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

May 2, 2007

While some Japanese filmmakers, like Toshiaki Toyoda in films like Hanging Garden, are examining the fractures that make up the family unit as a reflection on Japanese society as a whole and speculating on where it is going to lead, the more mainstream filmmakers are showing a tendency to reflect their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs by looking back on the past with the rosy glow of nostalgic ideal - almost certainly illusory - for when times were simpler, and the family unit was a secure and stable environment. No more so than during the feudal system, where everyone knew their place, be it ever so humble, and the virtues of honour, loyalty and duty where adhered to unquestioningly. This is proving to be the more lucrative ground for this rather conservative filmmaking trend, these values being promoted in bland samurai movies such as Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade, and When The Last Sword Is Drawn.

The appeal of such films is not hard to identify, the economic and social difficulties of the nation at present being washed away with the memory of when the nation was once a great empire. Inevitably, in line with such a reactionary and revisionist viewpoint, it would only a matter of time before this longing was translated into an actual desire to go back in time and correct the mistakes of the past. On the surface, Metro Ni Notte's time-travel storyline might seem innocent enough - a reflection on the past that allows one man to make a belated reconciliation with his father - but the ideology that lies underneath it gives us a fascinating glimpse into the current state of the psyche of the Japanese people today.

Based on a novel by Jiro Asada, Metro Ni Notte's reflection on the past follows a pattern familiar from other adaptations of the author's work like Poppoya, Failan, and When The Last Sword Is Drawn. Here Shinji has long had a difficult relationship with his father, to the extent that he has even legally separated himself from the family, changing his name from Konuma to his mother's maiden name of Hasebe. Although he works in the same business line as his father, as a salesman for a small clothing firm, his father's approach to business is much more ruthless and on a grander scale; the name Sakichi Konuma is famously associated with big business scandals and corruption. Although he doesn't see it, Shinji is perhaps rather more like his father than he would like to think, displaying a certain amount of cold-heartedness and having disowned to some extent his own family. This fact is pointed out to him, not a little ironically, by his mistress, Michiko.

One day however, a meeting with an old school teacher in the Tokyo underground is a catalyst that propels Shinji quite literally back into the past. Believing that he has seen his brother Shoichi, who died in 1964, Shinji follows him out of the underground station to find himself back in time on the fateful day when his brother died in October 1964. Can his intervention change the past? Or, as subsequent trips indicate, does he need to go back further and confront the real root of the problem - his father?

Although it is not particularly clear what instigates these sudden time jumps, the time travel episodes are intriguing from a psychological viewpoint as well as being an interesting plot device that allows Shinji to examine his own personality and gain a better understanding of his father by seeing the factors that influenced the man he would later become. What is more intriguing is the significance of the dates that Shinji jumps back to in time, which suggest a longing to return to the glory times of 1964, the year Japan was proud to host the Tokyo Olympics, as well as the war and immediate post-war years when everything went wrong for the nation. Shinji's journey to reconciliation with his father then could also be seen as a needing for the Japanese to come to terms with their past, and that's also an intriguing proposition.

Unfortunately, like the similarly themed Yamato, rather than revisiting the past in an attempt to come to terms with it, Metro Ni Notte displays a rather unsettling nationalistic tendency to idealise it and thus render it much more palatable for modern audiences. Like Junya Sato, as a director Tetsuo Shinohara also displays little in the way of imagination in his rather theatrical treatment of genre clichés. The transitions to the past are illustrated each time by an unimaginative flow down an underground tunnel in the Tokyo metro system, into a past where Shinji and Michiko's anachronistic appearances and disappearances in the rather stagy-looking pasts are never really questioned by the people they come into contact with. Shin'ichi Tsutsumi and Aya Okamoto deal with the subsequent contrivances gamely as Shinji and Michiko, bringing some measure of human interest to the situation but Takao Osawa's every appearance on the screen as the father Sakichi is incredibly mannered, each gesture a calculated attempt to put on a star turn.

Having seen what had to be endured during the war - in this idealised and forgiving light - Shinji is rather conveniently able to be reconciled with his father, who nevertheless remains the overplaying monster he always was. Presumably, this glossy, superficial return to the past is also meant to strike a feel-good cord with its Japanese audience, urging them for the sake of the family and the nation to be more tolerant and understanding of the abuses of the patriarchal system. It's an unconvincing proposition all around.

DVD
Metro Ni Notte (Riding On The Metro) is released in Japan by Geneon. It is available in Standard and Premium Editions. The film is presented on a dual-layer disc in NTSC format and is encoded for Region 2.

Audio/Video
As with most Asian NTSC transfers, there is the usual flatness to blacks and lack of any great shadow detail, with colour tones also being somewhat dampened, but technically, there is not much wrong with the transfer here. The overall tone is pleasant, with a nice softness that takes the clinical edge off the film's studio settings. There are no flaws in the print, not a mark or scratch. Some minor judder can however be seen occasionally in slow pans and slower movements across the screen, where the refresh rate makes it look like it is slipping into slow motion. It's not that noticeable or problematic, particularly considering the other qualities evident in the clarity of the transfer.

The film comes with a choice of Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 mixes, both of which are well employed for the sounds, music score and directional effects with a fullness of tone and clarity, although it's not particularly heavy on the lower-frequencies. Dialogue, mainly on the centre channel, has a tendency to distort on louder exchanges.

Subtitles
English subtitles are provided and are optional in a white font, translating the film reasonably thoroughly. Some important newspaper headlines are translated, but other signs and notices are not. Their significance usually becomes clear however, but some subtleties might be lost on the English-speaking viewer.

Extras
The majority of the more substantial extra features are on the second disc of the Premium Edition. On the Standard Edition therefore, all we have is a Commentary by the Director and Set Designer, as well as four Theatrical Teasers (4:49) and 15" and 30" TV Spots. None of the extra features are subtitled.

Overall
There is certainly some interest in Metro Ni Notte's time-travel storyline with its Always - Sunset On Third Street nostalgic recreations of the past. The film even managing to successfully use the paradoxes of the consequences of time travel to throw in a few unexpected twists. The film is also likely to appeal to anyone who has enjoyed other adaptations of Jiro Asada's work (Failan, When The Last Sword Is Drawn), demonstrating as it does a somewhat sentimental and tragic journey that a character undergoes to uncover an unknown side to a loved-one that changes their opinion of them. Largely however, the film plays very safe both in Tetsuo Shinohara's directorial choices and in the subject's ultimate purpose, feeding its mainstream cinema audience with more escapist and idealised nostalgic views of the past. The staid conservatism seems designed to appeal to a mainstream Japanese audience, but may not be as evident to a wider international audience, who may nonetheless be able appreciate the noble sentiments of the storyline if they can get past its sometimes less than credible contrivances. Geneon's Japanese edition of the film serves the film very well indeed.

by Noel Megahey - DVD Times

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

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