Monday, April 9, 2012

Movie of the Week – Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

This week’s movie is Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985).

The drama is about Japan’s most acclaimed author of the twentieth-century Yukio Mishima, blending biography and segments from his literary work. It is written and directed by Paul Schrader, who is better known as a writer, writing both Taxi Drive and Raging Bull. Aesthetically, the film is marvelous with brilliant work from composer Philip Glass (I really like his score; here is a clip), cinematographer John Bailey and production designer Eiko Ishioka (whose work is particularly great). The narrative structure is wonderful, each chapter touches on a moment or influence in Mishima’s life while also exploring a theme to his work. The film is quite profound and beautiful in this manner. It stars Ken Ogata and features narration by Roy Schneider. This is not really a film for everyone, as it is highly stylized and mostly pertains to the conflict between art and action (what art can say or make us feel versus what we actually do and what actually exists in life), which is not going to play well for those wanting something light or action-packed. However, for those that do enjoy more ‘arty’ films, this is a fantastic one (and is one of the most visually dynamic films of the 1980s). Check out the trailer.

Available on DVD and Streaming

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