Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1964 - KWAIDAN the high art of the Japanese film

The stills on this post just can't do justice to the unique photography, set design and overall look of this outstanding Japanese film.

Directed by Masaki Kobayashi, the film tells four ghost/horror stories based on a book from a Greek writer named Lafcadio Hearn who lived in New Orleans for a while and finally ended up in Japan. You would never know it had such a hybrid origin, this film is completely Japanese in it's mood.

All four of the stories are good, but the second and third stories are outstanding. "The Woman of the Snow" and "Hoichi the Earless" mix horror and eeriness with a wide screen film making technique that creates a unique visual experience.


Masaki Kobayashi had directed a ten hour 3 part series of films about the Japanese treatment of prisoners during World War II. Kobayashi also directed Harakiri a film extremely critical of the Japanese notion of samurai honor. Kwaidan appears to be a complete departure for him.

183 minutes.

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