Two private detectives hunt for an actress trapped within the reel of a silent ninja film in the dreamlike debut of Kaizo Hayashi (Circus Boys, Zipang), a magical double-handed cinephilic homage to the movie worlds of the 1910s and 1950s.
When private eye Uotsuka (Shiro Sano, Violent Cop, Shin Godzilla) and his sidekick Kobayashi are approached by an aged former actress, Madame Cherryblossom, to go in search of her kidnapped daughter Bellflower, their investigations lead them to the studios of the mysterious M. Pathe company. Here Uotsuka has a strange vision in which he comes face to face with the beautiful star of a 1915 chanbara film that appears to have no ending. From then on, things begin to get a little strange…
Among the most impressive and critically regarded Japanese films of the 1980s, To Sleep so as To Dream finally makes its home-video debut outside of Japan in a brand new restoration supervised by the director himself. Drifting between illusion and allusion, it is chockfull of references to Japan’s rich cinematic heritage and features cameos from a host of veteran talent and baroque sets created by Takeo Kimura, the Nikkatsu art designer fondly remembered for his flamboyant work with Seijun Suzuki in the 1960s.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Brand new audio commentary by Japanese film experts Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp
Audio commentary with director Kaizo Hayashi and lead actor Shiro Sano recorded in 2000
How Many Eggs? Actor Shiro Sano Talks, a brand new interview with the film’s lead actor
Talking Silents: Benshi Midori Sawato Talks, a brand new interview on early Japanese film culture and the art of the benshi silent film commentator
Midori Sawato Performs ‘The Eternal Mystery’, an exclusive benshi performance to the film within the film
The Restoration of To Sleep So as to Dream featurette
Fragments from Japan’s Lost Silent Heyday, a selection of scenes from silent jidai-geki films from the Kyoto Toy Museum archives
Original Theatrical trailer and English-language restored re-release trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by David Downton