The golden age of Japanese cinema was during the 1950s. Although the post-occupation period was difficult for ordinary people, it proved to be a successful time for filmmakers. The next decade saw a new wave when auteurs began to give their films a more distinctive national identity. Tomu Uchida started his career in the 1920s and continued directing until the early 1970s. His greatest film, A Fugitive from the Past, took its influences from a number of places and periods.
Two soldiers use a typhoon as cover to rob and set fire to a pawnshop. They flee by train and are joined by a third man (Rentarô Mikuni), who later kills them. After disposing of the evidence, he takes shelter with a prostitute, Yae (Sachiko Hidari), giving her a wad of money when he leaves. This allows the young woman to support her family and move to Tokyo. Pursuit comes in the form of Detective Yumisaka (Junzaburo Ban), who tries to piece the clues together to catch the murderer.
A Fugitive from the Past is a crime drama where the narrative is told from three different perspectives. This allows the story to play out with much greater depth, supported by a runtime which clocks in at just over three hours. The devil is in the detail and Uchida gives his film time to settle. To establish a rhythm, which slows pulls the viewer in. A Fugitive from the Past is an epic allegory on the human condition.
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the restored 183 minute-long cut of the film
- Original uncompressed mono audio
- Optional English subtitles
- Introduction by writer and curator Jasper Sharp
- Scene-specific commentaries from leading Japanese film scholars Aaron Gerow, Irene González-López, Erik Homenick, Earl Jackson, Daisuke Miyao and Alexander Zahlten
- Original theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
- Tomu Uchida filmography
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by David Baldwin and Inuhiko Yomota
A Fugitive from the Past is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 26 September.