PictureIt's a Letterboxed 16:9 vista presentation that is quite average. It has a lot of grain and the contrast is bland but it remains watchable. The source print is not pristine but it doesn't have much dirt or damage. It's been transferred relatively free of line enhancement but artefacts do pop up here and there. The colours are natural apart from the blacks which are not very pure and the skin tones inside the apartment often seem to be overly orange. It's not a particularly sharp picture, being a little soft. The film looks like a documentary and was probably shot like one with a small crew, so perhaps it was never going to look that spectacular anyway. Not an exemplary transfer nonetheless.
SoundThe Japanese 5.1 mix is quite sparse really. In keeping with the tone of the film, there are very little aural effects, as everything is kept as natural as possible. There's not much separation but what there is seems atmospheric and effective. You hear traffic moving through the walls, muffled dialogue upstairs and feet scuffing along a floor all quite distinctly. It's a subtle soundtrack.
ExtrasThis is a Japanese only two disc set, contained in a deluxe digi-pack with some Director notes. All the extras are on the second disc. There's a decent looking 'Making of' with a Director interview and a featurette showing the Cannes trailer and press conference, but the trouble is there's no subtitles on anything. Since this release was produced for the home market I can't really blame them for not having any English subtitles, but it's no use to me all the same! There's a pop video from one of the actors and there's a photo gallery. It looks like an average set of extras, not too shabby, but nothing stands out.
VerdictA gentle, tragic tale that shows the fragility of childhood and the anonymity of city life. Overlong, but still a fine work from an engaging director.
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