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.
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."
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.…
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…
you know a film is gonna be spooky good when the opening credits can freak you out. watching Kwaidan is like hearing campfire ghost stories while staring at beautiful, ancient Japanese art. Clearly a pretty big influence on every J-Horror film ever made and a real scary, classy classic.
Excellent. Visually stunning, eerie, and an absolute class-act all the way. It doesn't go for cheap scares, but is more lyrical and full of sadness in exploring supernatural unrest. The dead prey on the living, motivated by a mournful longing for life. And the living in some cases can't help but flirt or embrace death, as they do things that bring them closer to the spirits that haunt them, even when the rules and boundaries are made explicitly clear. There is a dread and terror here, but I would say it is more a film that captures the push and pull between life and death itself. A remarkable and beautiful visual feast, and a quietly emotional experience. I loved every segment.
Part of HOOPTOBER 2.
Kwaidan is classified under the horror genre, but to be more precise, it is more similar to greek tragedies than the traditional horror movies. Every tale played out as a drama, only for the supernatural horror element to play a role in the segment's climax. It is subtly spooky and the narrative is somewhat predictable and very slow but I think it payed off in every one of the tales.
What is Kwaidan's strong asset, isn't the plot or how scary it is. Kwaidan is like a living painting, wonderful colours and every frame is set in the most artistic and visually pleasing way possible. Also, the sound of the film plays a major role with…
Probably the best argument for the importance of horror stories, and storytelling in general, that there is.
Stunning. Loses a little steam in final act, and its ghosts are definitely more akin to creatures with only physical threat than soul thieves, but the surfaces are spectacular.
#6/31 - 31 Days of Horror (2015)
Based on the book of japanese ghost stories by Lefcadio Hearn, 'Kwaidan' is composed of 4 separated segments, each one representing a season of the year. It's the first Kobayashi's feature in color, and his first take on fictional tales.
From the slow paced storytelling to the dreamy and ominous scenarios, Kwaidan also presents a near perfect sound editing and beautifull use of contrast lightning and colors to build tension. A master class on how to make horror. (BTW, the three-hour Criterion cut is a must have).
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The atmosphere created by the music and lighting is wonderful. The camera work is also exquisite, its fluidity is very effective at setting the pace, as evidenced in the first segment, 'The Black Hair'. I especially liked the lighting and colour shifts of the second segment, 'The Woman of the Snow', as well as the imaginative backdrops. 'Hoichi the Earless' is probably the most impressive stylistically. The use of shadows in the final segment, 'In a Cup of Tea', was clever, adding to the surreal nature of the narrative.
Video review of this film is currently up on my Youtube Channel.
A stunning, spooky creepfest based on Japanese folklore, Kwaidan is the best kind of horror movie: one that fills you with dread, and unnerves you gradually rather than resorting to cheap jump scares. Stylistically rich and varied, this delivers in all the ways Hausu, for example, did not.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 196/776 (25%)