A Noh dramatization of the suicides of Lt. Shinji Takeyama and his wife Reiko. After participating in a failed 1936 coup and being ordered to execute his friends, he bids his wife an intimate farewell and commits harakiri.
A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses), while the fourth depicts the actual events of the 25th Nov. 1970, "The Last Day".Written by
Nick Lopez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yukio Mishima is acknowledged to have been a real person, but his acts have been fictionalized by writers. Other persons and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons and events is unintentional. See more »
The 2001 DVD and 1998 LaserDisc releases by Warner Bros. do not have Roy Scheider's narration; they instead have an uncredited narrator. This was an error when choosing sound elements for these releases. The uncredited narration was a temp track that was made during the editing process as a guide when cutting the film together. The 2001 DVD release does, however, feature the Japanese-language narration track by Ken Ogata . Criterion's releases of the film have both English narration tracks - the temp narration made during editing, and Roy Schieder's version, along with Ken Ogata's Japanese-language narration. See more »
The only pure life, is one that ends with a signature in blood.
So says Mishima anyway, a young sheltered boy who becomes a celebrity author. The life of one of Japans most celebrated literary voices, is told from three perspectives, his life just before he and four members of his private army take over a Japanese military base and commit ritual suicide(shown in color), flashbacks(shown in black and white), and scenes from his novels(shown in a kind of dreamy Technicolor set design somewhere between traditional Noh Theater and "the Wizard Of Oz". These stories are often told at the same time, but are edited to reinforce, the slow fusing of Mishima's life with his fictions, until the end(or the beginning) when like the ancient samurai he so admires, he will be at a balance of pen and sword (when his words and actions are the same, and he is a full and "pure" being).
Paul Schrader wrote the screen play for "Taxi Driver", and directed "Cat People"(a bizarre erotic horror film, which left strange impressions on me as a boy), and in Mishima, he comes closest to making a really excellent film.
Whats interesting is to watch the poet, the homosexual, the shy and awkward man with a low body image who overstates his Tuberculosis to get of of WW2 (of which he seems forever ashamed), become a body building, samurai obsessed, a-sexual, media phenomena, all the while still writing prolific amounts of novels, plays, and short stories.
A short and sweet version is to say Mishima has no father, and becomes obsessed with masculinity, beauty, sex and self destruction, in some tragic attempt to feel connected to something bigger than himself, that he was always missing. Watching him with his fellow suicidal cadets, you see him happy, delivering his big paternal speech, giving orders, and loving the control...until the speech itself, the point where pen and sword meet? Of course, this ignores the subtlety of the story telling craft here which makes this transformation so natural and remarkable.
Though the story, fascinating at times, really isn't this movies greatest success. The cinematography, performances, editing,music(by Philip Glass), and set designs, are really what make this worth seeing, and more than a traditional bio-pic.
One day I will pick, up a Mishima book, he does seem to have an ear for prose, and for staging ideas, but for now I'm satisfied with the film.
Those interested in Japanese Literature, and post-war culture, should check out. Fans of inventive combinations of facts and fictions, should enjoy as well.
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