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…
A rightfully praised anthology of four ill-fated tales about man's encounter with the unknown that is forever etched on to my cornea.
Right from the get go the skillfully effective yet sparse use of carefully selected goose bump-sounds to heighten the atmosphere is very prominent. Secondly the grandeur of the lavish visual style, due to the expressive use of hand painted backdrops, effective lighting and the use of studio-sets, makes your jaw drop to the floor. Add some saturated Eastmancolor to the mix and the audiovisual score is five stars all around.
Then we come to the stories. All four episodes are exquisite although some are a tad bit lengthy and slow (and i even saw the edited 161min version),…
Artsy, muted horror anthology from Japan, based on four ghost stories by Lafcadio Hearn. The first episode builds an effective mood through its elliptical action and long, slow tracks through empty rooms, but this 1965 film soon levels off into academic stylization. Masaki Kobayashi directed; in Japanese with subtitles. 164 min.
Well-made, atmospheric ghost stories. Some dragged a bit, but overall a very effective and influential anthology.
(I reviewed this film for my 'Half Century Cinema' podcast. Link to the actual review below)
A little long, and I could've done without the 4th story, but overall pretty enjoyable. The colors are incredible, as is the lighting, especially the blue sections in the 2nd story, The Woman of the Snow. The scene in the fisherman's hut is legitimately terrifying. That Yuki-Onna gave me chills. I probably liked the 3rd story, Hoichi The Earless, the best, with its trance-like nature and biwa music. Pretty much everything was shot on stages, so it all generally just plays like really good theatre, with some significant suspension of disbelief. But some genuinely terrifying, beautiful and chilling moments.
A rare piece of genius. More or as much theatre, art, words, sound, than film, equally timeless and timeful, each part a whole, each whole ever parting.
First there is a broken promise to a loved one. It is timeless and it is both forgiven and is lost. Everyone will lose themselves to love.
Then there is a broken promise to the uncanny. The space of time before death. The wordless memories. The unspeaking of forgetting. Everything leaning against the battlements of the subconscious.
Third there is the broken promise with death. This is the promise of history, of art. Where tragedy, fairytale, horror are at full play. You will still die, but you might not still.
Last, and more…
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…
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 196/776 (25%)