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Kwaidan (1964)

Kaidan (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 22 November 1965 (USA)
A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes.

Director:

Masaki Kobayashi

Writers:

Yôko Mizuki (screenplay), Lafcadio Hearn (novel) (as Yakumo Koizumi)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michiyo Aratama ... First wife (segment "Kurokami")
Misako Watanabe Misako Watanabe ... Second Wife (segment "Kurokami")
Rentarô Mikuni Rentarô Mikuni ... Husband (segment "Kurokami")
Kenjirô Ishiyama Kenjirô Ishiyama ... Father (segment "Kurokami")
Ranko Akagi Ranko Akagi ... Mother (segment "Kurokami")
Fumie Kitahara Fumie Kitahara ... (segment "Kurokami")
Kappei Matsumoto Kappei Matsumoto ... (segment "Kurokami")
Yoshiko Ieda Yoshiko Ieda ... (segment "Kurokami")
Otome Tsukimiya Otome Tsukimiya ... (segment "Kurokami")
Kenzô Tanaka Kenzô Tanaka ... (segment "Kurokami")
Kiyoshi Nakano Kiyoshi Nakano ... (segment "Kurokami")
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Mi nokichi (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Keiko Kishi ... Yuki the Snow Maiden (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Yûko Mochizuki Yûko Mochizuki ... Minokichi's mother (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Kin Sugai Kin Sugai ... Village woman (segment "Yuki-Onna")
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Storyline

This film contains four distinct, separate stories. "Black Hair": A poor samurai who divorces his true love to marry for money, but finds the marriage disastrous and returns to his old wife, only to discover something eerie about her. "The Woman in the Snow": Stranded in a snowstorm, a woodcutter meets an icy spirit in the form of a woman spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone about her. A decade later he forgets his promise. "Hoichi the Earless": Hoichi is a blind musician, living in a monastery who sings so well that a ghostly imperial court commands him to perform the epic ballad of their death battle for them. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. But they've forgotten something. "In a Cup of Tea": a writer tells the story of a man who keep seeing a mysterious face reflected in his cup of tea. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the tradition of "RASHOMON" and "GATE OF HELL" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

22 November 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ghost Stories See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan

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Box Office

Budget:

JPY 350,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although most of the vignettes acknowledge a passage of time, in some cases several years, the months of principal action in the film are, in order, September, December, March, and February (or New Year's Day of the Fourth Tenwa). See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally a four-episode anthology released in Japan at 183 minutes. The USA version removes the second episode, starring Keiko Kishi and Tatsuya Nakadai, in order to shorten the running time to 125 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Journey with Ghost Along Yokaido Road (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

marvellous fairy-tales: directorial and cinematographic fabulous
2 August 2001 | by rogierrSee all my reviews

Cinematographer Yoshio Miyajima did a marvellous job, although most of the visuals in this masterpiece are obviously invented by Kobayashi. It is clearly studio-work, but Kobayashi turns that to his advance by making the most marvellous background paintings I've ever seen in a movie and his virtuosity comes to full exposure in the light effects that are fabulous for such an old film. That together with the beautiful colors creates a mesmerizing and sometimes terrifying experience. 'Marco the magnificent' (Patelliere&Howard, 1964) reminded me of the visuals in Kwaidan, because of the beautiful environmental shots and because of the (supposed) history of mixture of eastern and western stories. Forget that movie instantly plz. Another film that has nothing to do with this one, but is brilliant and comparable only because of the episode structure, the fairy-tale nature and great cinematography is Kaos (Taviani, 1984).

Kwaidan has such a haunting effect because of the scary music and the sound effects are unnerving(-ly edited). Some call it horror. I thought the pace was rather slow for horror, but it is a film that does not let go easily. The actors (one of which is Takeshi Shimura) convince enthusiastically and they too make it an entertaining film. According to the user-rating this is Kobayashi's least interesting work of these three: Joi-uchi, Seppuku, and Kwaidan. I can't wait to see the other two, although I don't think they can surpass this masterpiece.

10 points out of 10 :-)


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