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A Chorus of Angels (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Miyazaki Aoi (Actor) | Koike Eiko (Actor) | Yoshinaga Sayuri (Actor) | Moriyama Mirai (Actor)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Since the success of Confession, author Minato Kanae's literary works have become very popular among film and television writers due to her dark, twisted views of human nature. The latest Minato work to arrive on the big screen is the short story "Ni-jyu Nian Go no Shyukudai" from the anthology Oufuku Shokan, about a librarian who returns to the small northern town she once worked in as a teacher to visit her old students. A Chorus of Angels stars timeless acting legend Yoshinaga Sayuri as the teacher, and her now-adult students are played by a cast of talented young actors, including Miyazaki Aoi (In His Chart), Mitsushima Hikari (Love Exposure), Koike Eiko (Penance), Mirai Moriyama (The Drudgery Train) and Matsuda Ryuhei (Phone Call to the Bar). The adaptation by director Sakamoto Junji (Children of the Dark, Zatoichi The Last) features gorgeous landscapes of snowy Hokkaido shot by veteran cinematographer Kimura Daisuku and was one of top nominees at the Japan Academy Prize.

Haru (Yoshinaga Sayuri) was a junior high school teacher in a remote island town in Hokkaido. After an accident that killed one of her students, Haru moved to Tokyo and became a librarian. Twenty years later, Haru finds a photo album from those days and decides to pay a visit to the town. She discovers that her old students, who are now in their late 20s, are still living in town. The students still resent Haru for abandoning them, opening up old wounds that will reveal the truth behind what happened twenty years ago.

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Technical Information

Product Title: A Chorus of Angels (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 北方的金絲雀 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) 北方的金丝雀 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) 北のカナリアたち BD A Chorus of Angels (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Also known as: Kita no Kanaria Tachi Kita no Kanaria Tachi Kita no Kanaria Tachi Kita no Kanaria Tachi Kita no Kanaria Tachi
Artist Name(s): Miyazaki Aoi (Actor) | Koike Eiko (Actor) | Yoshinaga Sayuri (Actor) | Moriyama Mirai (Actor) | Katsuji Ryo (Actor) | Mitsushima Hikari (Actor) 宮崎葵 (Actor) | 小池榮子 (Actor) | 吉永小百合 (Actor) | 森山未來 (Actor) | 勝地涼 (Actor) | 滿島光 (Actor) 宫崎葵 (Actor) | 小池荣子 (Actor) | 吉永小百合 (Actor) | 森山未来 (Actor) | Katsuji Ryo (Actor) | 满岛光 (Actor) 宮崎あおい (Actor) | 小池栄子 (Actor) | 吉永小百合 (Actor) | 森山未來 (Actor) | 勝地涼 (Actor) | 満島ひかり (Actor) Miyazaki Aoi (Actor) | Koike Eiko (Actor) | Yoshinaga Sayuri (Actor) | Moriyama Mirai (Actor) | Katsuji Ryo (Actor) | Mitsushima Hikari (Actor)
Director: Sakamoto Junji 阪本順治 阪本顺治 阪本順治 Sakamoto Junji
Writer: Minato Kanae 湊佳苗 凑佳苗 湊かなえ/著 Minato Kanae
Release Date: 2013-09-24
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Country of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Sound Information: Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM)
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1034105385

Product Information

Director: Junji Sakamoto

A teacher, Kawashima Haru (Yoshinaga Sayuri), arrives on a remote island, north of Hokkaido. She has accompanied her husband, Yukio, to become the teacher of six students. Once Haru discovers the children’s beautiful singing voices, she brightens their spirits by leading them in a chorus. Smiles now break out on the faces of the children, who had been bored at school before her arrival. Their angelic voices reverberate across the wilderness, warmly basking the residents’ hearts. But one summer’s day, Haru’s husband dies in an accident on a picnic with her students. The terrible wound in Haru’s heart causes her to abandon her worried father and flee the island. Twenty years later, Haru, who works as a librarian in Tokyo, hears about a murder committed by one of her former students. Determined to learn the truth about the murder, and to reunite with her students, Haru heads north. As she talks with each of them she gradually brings to light the secret feelings they had each harbored about the accident 20 years ago.
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "A Chorus of Angels (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

November 25, 2013

The past comes back to haunt and heal in Japanese drama A Chorus of Angels directed by Sakamoto Junji (Children of the Dark) and based a work by bestselling author Minato Kanae, whose Confessions was recently brought to the screen in stunning fashion by Nakashima Tetsuya. Adapted from the short story "Ni-jyu Nian Go no Shyukudai" from the Oufuku Shokan collection, the film revolves around the relationship between a former teacher and her now-grown up students, who are bound together by a dark secret. The film is particularly notable for the presence of actress Yoshinaga Sayuri, a legend in the industry and hugely popular since her teen roles back in the 1960s for the Nikkatsu studio, backed here by an impressive cast of younger talent, including Miyazaki Aoi (In His Chart), Mitsushima Hikari (Love Exposure), Koike Eiko (Penance), Mirai Moriyama (The Drudgery Train) and Matsuda Ryuhei (Phone Call to the Bar). The film was a big hit with the critics, winning multiple awards and nominations at the 2013 Awards of the Japanese Academy.

The film opens with Yoshinaga Sayuri as Haru, a librarian working on Tokyo and on the verge of retirement, who used to work as a teacher on snowy Hokkaido. After receiving a visit by police informing her that one of her former students called Nobuto (Mirai Moriyama) is wanted for murder, she decides to return to the island to try and uncover the truth. Visiting her old pupils one by one, starting with park worker Manami (Mitsushima Hikari), painful memories resurface relating to the death of her husband and an incident which resulted in her leaving. Haru is shocked to find that her students' lives have all been affected in one way or another by the events of the past, and that they are still harbouring feelings of grief, guilt and abandonment, pushing her to confront long buried trauma.

Though they have some thematic similarities and deal with difficulties in student-teacher and intergenerational relationships, A Chorus of Angels is very different to Confessions, moving towards healing rather than self-destruction. A mix of humanistic drama and mystery, though the film has a fairly basic narrative structure, progressing through flashbacks as Haru meets her students and hears their revelations, it's an involving and heartfelt mix of humanistic drama and mystery. Sakamoto Junji goes for patient pacing, slowly but effectively providing pieces of the puzzle while at the same time developing the characters and exposing their many secrets and psychological scars. Though it does get a little melodramatic in places, in particular during some of the flashback sequences involving Haru organising her students into the chorus of the title, the film is never too over the top, and builds towards a highly satisfying conclusion, and one which doesn't shy away from harshness.

To quite a large extent, it's Yoshinaga Sayuri's film, as she appears in almost every scene, and holds the plot together both emotionally and narratively, her students revolving around her in both the past and present. She delivers a very impressive and controlled turn, and ensures that Haru is a fascinating and multi-layered protagonist, whose character changes through the film as the viewer learns more about her and about her own mistakes and failed responsibilities. The younger cast are very much in her shadow, both the child actors and those playing the 20-something grown up students, though are all solid, and the feeling that they are deferring or are in awe of the quietly commandeering Yoshinaga fits the film's story and themes well.

Almost a character in its own right is the island of Hokkaido, its snowy landscapes brought to subtly beautiful life by cinematographer Kimura Daisuku, who well deserved his Best Cinematography prize at the Awards of the Japanese Academy. Shot on location and under wintry conditions, the film has a fantastically naturalistic look, with countless moments of gorgeous bleakness which perfectly reflect the characters' repressed emotions and torments. Sakamoto's direction unsurprisingly makes full use of this, the camera often sitting back and allowing the viewer to take in the landscape through frequent long, still shots, making the film an atmospheric as well as moving experience.

Though it does require a certain amount of patience, A Chorus of Angels is a poignant and rewarding film that's affecting without being patronising or too cliched. By turns tragic and hopeful, it's anchored by Yoshinaga Sayuri's powerful performance in the lead, which her many fans will no doubt find very enjoyable indeed.

by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com

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.

Customer Review of "A Chorus of Angels (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


July 28, 2015

This customer review refers to A Chorus of Angels (2013) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Can't go wrong with Yoshinaga Sayuri Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
After twenty years working as a librarian, retirement day has arrived for quiet Haru (Yoshinaga Sayuri). She begins to plan a solitary life of relaxation, with visits to hot springs resorts. However, before she can undertake her plans, two police detectives knock at her door with questions about someone from her past. Prior to her career as a librarian, Haru had spent a year teaching a class of six students at a tiny school in a remote Hokkaido village. The detectives are trying to find Nobu (Moriyama Mirai), one of her former students, who is a suspect in a murder case. Haru tells the police that she has had no contact with Nobu and doesn't know his whereabouts. However, after the detectives depart, Haru heads for Hokkaido.

Upon her arrival, Haru begins meeting with her former students, asking them about Nobu, the charges against him, and whether they know where he might be. Through these various meetings, in a style reminiscent of 'Rashomon', we begin to learn that something happened during Haru's year in Hokkaido that continues to ripple down through the years, forever altering the lives of Haru's students.

The tale told in "A Chorus of Angels" is revealed in an ingenious fashion which keeps the viewer questioning what really happened in those long-ago days. As one would expect, Yoshinaga Sayuri is superb in slowly unveiling the disquiet that lies beneath her quiet exterior. Although Ms. Yoshinaga was 66 or 67 years of age when making this movie, the filmmakers didn't go easy on her; she tromps through driving snowstorms, climbs a high water tower, and dives into the frigid sea. Clearly, this woman is no diva!

The child actors who appear in the film's lengthy flashbacks and the young adult actors who play Haru's former students (especially Moriyama Mirai, Miyazaki Aoi, and Koike Eiko) give sturdy performances. Unfortunately, the script makes its young adult characters relatively one-dimensional, giving those actors little on which to chew. Special mention must be made of the film's gorgeous cinematography of Hokkaido. "A Chorus of Angels" is recommended.
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