Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes.
Film #10 of the "Scavenger Hunt" Challenge!
Task #9 : An Art House Film!
Normally I avoid anthologies like the plague! I personally prefer full feature films as I feel short stories don't have enough time to compel and amaze you! Nor do I feel it leaves enough time to develop characters!
With that being said Kwaidan hit the sweet spot! While its supernatural themed tales were subtle when compared to other tales of this genre I found them to be potent nonetheless and if I were to describe it with one word it would be Haunting!
The cinematography was absolutely striking! I was enchanted with all of them except for the last tale! When all is…
I love anthologies. Maybe it's my growing attention issues, but bite-sized nuggets of stories, especially ones linked by theme or style are a more-than-welcome alternative to the immersion I can feel with films that use long running times to tell a single, epic story. Kwaidan obviously fits the bill, and - despite the rating (discussed later) - was beautiful and just the right amount of scary. For the sake of the rating, here's how I liked each separate story:
The Black Hair - 7/10
Kobayashi gets things started with the most overtly-terrifying tale. It's a sad love story with a gruesome twist, and is interesting in and of itself as a tragic tale of regret.…
Takes the experiences of watching a play, reading a book of folk tales, viewing a painting, listening to avant garde music, and having a dream and turns them into a movie. A stylized theatrical back drop, a lighting change, a slightly off-kilter motion, a slightly off-sync cue in Toru Takemitsu's otherworldly soundtrack and suddenly you're transported into the dream. Timeless, but maybe 1960s Japan would have special attraction to moral lessons like: "next time stay at home" or "keep your promises, for the sake of the children, because the past will come back to haunt you" or "remember the past, tell its story well, but don't blindly adhere to it" or "don't be a security obsessed jerk who drinks a soul in my unfinished story or whatever the lesson was in that last one."
This is a sumptuous visual feast that through delirious colours, sets and imagery offers up four Japanese tales of the supernatural that all cast a spell and get under your skin over the nearly 3 hour running time. A must-see for fans of Horror and Japanese cinema from the Director of Harakiri and The Human Condition.
It was great to see a movie which has a genuine feeling of spookiness and atmospherics dressed in eerie horror...Among the four tales i loved the first two immensely,the third felt overlong and did not excite me much except for that famous sequence,the fourth was short but effective.
Kwaidan aesthetically strays about as far from realism as one can go, yet is all the better for it. In dealing with the unknown of the spirit world, Kobayashi cinematically just goes for it here, demonstrating his Japanese ghost story chops with some wonderful artistry (including expressionist backdrops) and unforgettably haunting supernatural imagery (the woman of the snow, wow!). There were certain shots in this film that even made me wonder what a Kobayashi Alien film would have looked like, its partial influence over some subsequent horror classics can most certainly be felt. Kobayashi's cinematic approach to these stories is what is most interesting, and his involvement in traditional tropes such as scary Japanese women with long black hair is…
Length and glacial pacing are its only weaknesses.
Stunning. One of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. Perfectly makes the case for mood over dense plotting. Also one of the best uses of a soundstage in cinema. Reminds me of how Welles was able to use it to brilliant effect in Macbeth.
Kwaidan consists of four different ghost stories told within ancient Japan. Filmed entirely on sound stages, Kobayashi uses that to his advantage, creating brilliant looking set pieces that had me in awe. The four stories told within the film are:
The Black Hair. It's a tale of a selfish husband returning home to repent. Scary in the most traditional sense, I feel this is the beginning of the now famous genre of "hair horror." A great start to the film.
The Woman in The Snow. A man lets go of a secret after many, many years. This did something that I never would have thought to do within a horror film: give the ghost a conscience. This story was very…
Wonderful use of color. The third story is my fave.
One of my favourite Japanese films, and one of the greatest examples of Japanese horror. Relying on incredible, dreamlike atmosphere created by stunning production design, hypnotic sound and music and elegant, restrained performances, this film creates an eerie and unsettling ambiance that I find genuinely scary, not in a jump out of my seat way, but a creeping sense of menace and unease.
Incredible stuff, definitely worth a watch, you can see it's influence on so much Japanese filmmaking further down the track, and a definite influence on certain anime filmmaking.
"It was seven o'clock in the morning, too late to handle the day; at home it was only two thirty; the skin on my wrists turning grey." Yes, this title is translated as "Ghost Stories", and yes, this film is somehow older than the John Cale song "Ghost Story", although I doubt it predates a whole heap of Japanese ghost story movies. Yeah, man, as if the Japanese don't make enough movies about ghosts, here's four ghost stories rolled into one film. Shoot, I don't know if there are only four segments in this anthology, because as long as the final product is, it could just as easily be a compilation of all the ghosts stories covered by Japanese filmmakers…
Film #14 of the Scavenger Hunt Challenge!
Task #4 A film that is 3 or more hours long!
Absolutely no idea what to expect, but was glad at least that it wasn't flat out horror. An anthology of 4 unconnected spooky(ish) folk tales which were interesting on a cultural level, and containing some clever visuals and camera shots to convey the spookiness.
The first story is the most scary, the second the saddest, the third the most visually glorious and the fourth perhaps the most predictable.
Over the course of the film's four classic Japanese ghost stories, albeit adapted at a remove from their folkloric origins, it crafts a transfixing mood of creeping dread and atmospheric tension that creates an eerie air of stillness that provokes curiosity alongside fear. The film establishes this mood with a measured patience that is evident in its unhurried pacing, insistently steady camera movement, careful framing which uses the full breadth of the 2.35 widescreen frame to pull us into the scene in time with the growing tension, and a score which combines natural sound effects and spare strings to truly unsettling effect. This haunting mood creates an air of supernatural presence that infuses these ghost stories with a sense of…
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 194/776 (25%)