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Black Kiss (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Black Kiss (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani (DVD) (Deluxe Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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YesAsia Editorial Description

Asuka (Hashimoto Reika - Survive Style 5+) is an aspiring model who moves to Tokyo to pursue her career. She moves into a small apartment with a friend of a friend, Kasumi (Kawamura Kaori). A bizarre murder occurs in the hotel across the street. The body was mutilated and repositioned into a lurid work of art. After this, a string of murders start happening all around the two girls, as if some crazed serial killer was following them. At the scene of each crime, the perpetrator leaves a black lip print, and is subsequently dubbed "The Black Kiss."

From Tezka Macoto (a.k.a Tezuka Makoto), the son of the legendary creator of Astro Boy, comes this haunting murder mystery. Tezuka has won huge acclaim for his TV commercials, music videos and other artistic ventures, and displays more of his visual and artistic prowess here. Black Kiss also stars Odagiri Joe (Shinobi, Scrap Heaven) and Ando Masanobu (Kids Return, Battle Royale).

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Technical Information

Product Title: Black Kiss (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Black Kiss (通常版) (日本版 - 英文字幕) Black Kiss (通常版) (日本版 - 英文字幕) ブラックキス (通常版) Black Kiss (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Kawamura Kaori | Reika Hashimoto | Ando Masanobu | Kojima Hijiri | Matsuoka Shunsuke | Odagiri Joe | Iwahori Seri | Kusakari Masao Kawamura Kaori | 橋本麗香 | 安藤政信 | 小島聖 | 松岡俊介 | 小田切讓 | 岩堀芹 | 草刈正雄 Kawamura Kaori | 桥本丽香 | 安藤政信 | 小岛圣 | 松冈俊介 | 小田切让 | 岩堀芹 | 草刈正雄 川村かおり | 橋本麗香 | 安藤政信 | 小島聖 | 松岡俊介 | オダギリジョー | あんじ | 岩堀せり | クサカリマサオ | 奥田瑛ニ Kawamura Kaori | Reika Hashimoto | Ando Masanobu | Kojima Hijiri | Matsuoka Shunsuke | 오다기리 죠 | Iwahori Seri | Kusakari Masao
Director: Tezuka Makoto Tezuka Makoto Tezuka Makoto 手塚眞 Tezuka Makoto
Release Date: 2006-07-28
Publisher Product Code: ULD-318
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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: Interfilm
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004318768

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
手塚眞 (監督) / 橋本麗香 / 川村かおり / 松岡俊介

[特典情報]
特典ディスク付/映像特典収録

[テクニカル・インフォメーション]
レーベル名:アップリンク/通常版/製作年:2004年/製作国:日本/カラー
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 "Black Kiss (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

May 26, 2006

The opening shot of Black Kiss perhaps sums up the entire film - an unsettling shot of a rainy street in the seedy underbelly that is Kabuki-cho. As shady characters walk about clashing with each other, the camera turns towards a woman standing in front of a movie theater playing Hitchcock's Psycho. Originally named Synchronicity when it premiered at the 2004 Tokyo International Film Festival, Black Kiss sat on the shelf for over a year until Tokyo arthouse theater/distributor Uplink snapped up the rights and gave it a healthy run in a Shibuya cinema. Besides the obvious nods to Hitchcock, the heavy European influence and sometimes experimental style of Tezka Macoto (son of animation legend Tezuka Osama) explains the lack of commercial draw to potential distributors. However, Black Kiss remains an interesting, albeit overambitious, exercise in atmosphere and style.

Black Kiss starts off with a seemingly unrelated opening sequence - a model/aspiring actress goes on a dinner date with her womanizing talent agent which leads to a tryst at the ominous Hotel Bat's. Upon returning to the room, the talent agent gets knocked out next to the bathtub (the third Hitchcock reference only 5 minutes into the film!), and, as the first of numerous mutilation sequences in the film, let's just say it's not pretty.

Then the real plot kicks in - Asuka (Hashimoto Reika) is a new model without a place, having just moved to Tokyo. Through a colleague, she ends up living right across from Hotel Bat's with temperamental and mysterious ex-model Kasumi (Kawamura Kaori), who often disappears after angry phone calls. During one of those disappearances, Asuka happens to witness the murder in the opening sequence from her apartment window (Hitchcock reference again!), not to mention the murderer. This sets off a chain of strange killings, random body parts, various ways to use human heads, red herrings, and some model drama to boot.

Tezka tries to incorporate many ideas and influences into Black Kiss. Besides the numerous Hitchcock references, there's also half-Japanese models, Haitian voodoo, heavy European influence, and most of all - coincidence. This theme of synchronicity (thus its original title) is heavily emphasized throughout, especially in the opening scenes. But when the mystery is all but solved, Tezka discards this theme and suddenly suggests otherwise. The idea of a cat-and-mouse serial killer film is that every murder is calculated, with the killer following a certain pattern that remains unknown until the mystery is complete. The inherent dilemma in Black Kiss is that every murder is calculated, but yet Tezka wants to make them seemingly coincidental, even though that takes away any type of satisfying conclusion to the mystery. The result is an interesting concept used on the wrong plot.

With so much crammed in, Black Kiss runs 133 minutes - a length that can't be avoided, given the numerous ideas. Again, the dilemma is that a genre film should not run at this epic length, and Tezka only manages to touch the surface of many of his ideas because there are so many of them. Perhaps Paradox would be a better title for the film.

With 20 years of experience making 8mm films, Tezka utilizes the relatively young HD format for Black Kiss. While it takes a while to get used to the sometimes low-budget clarity of the picture, Tezka and cinematographer Shirao Kazuhiro create a great look for the film, with the eerie yellow-green palate and the dimly lit streets of Tokyo adding much to the creep factor. Tezka also proves to be an intricate master of mise en scène; from the crime scenes to the dark apartments of his characters, the details all help to create an unsettling atmosphere. That, along with Tezka's hauntingly beautiful use of gore, help make the film's budget seem higher than what it probably is.

Despite the sometimes overambitious motifs, a conclusion that is a bit far-fetched, and the inherent dilemmas in its structure, Black Kiss remains an entertaining and atmospheric ride. In order to absorb yourself into the ride, you'll need to chuck out the expectation that the film will be all gore and pre-killing sex scenes like American slasher films. While the inventive killings do spice things up from time to time, they make up fairly little of the running time. What's left is actually something that resembles a plot, some experimental filmmaking (jump cuts is a major visual motif), and a very heavy dose of creepy atmosphere. In other words, approach Black Kiss like you would approach the streets of Kabuki-cho - with caution. It may be ugly, but you just may like it there.

by Kevin Ma

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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