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Patriotism (The Criterion Collection) (1966)

Yukio Mishima , Yukio Mishima  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Patriotism (The Criterion Collection) + Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Yukio Mishima
  • Directors: Yukio Mishima
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 30 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016AKSOQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,424 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Patriotism (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Author Yukio Mishima's fascination with ritual suicide is at the heart of Patriotism, a 1966 short film co-directed by and co-starring Mishima, and based on one of his many short stories. Self-consciously arty and occasionally laughable, the film nevertheless is sensual, emotionally intense, and well-acted. Mishima stars as Lt. Takeyama, a naval officer who supports an attempted coup of his government, but who is barred by fellow officers--his friends--from participation in it because of his love for Reiko (Yoshiko Tsuruoka). When the coup fails, Takeyama is given the task of executing the rebels. Caught between conflicting points of honor, Takeyama opts for seppuku (suicide), which will make Reiko a lonely widow. The couple decides to commit double suicide, with Takeyama going first. Most of the movie finds the two making love with a unique passion and deep bond that will last beyond death. The black-and-white film blankets the lovers in protective shadows while underscoring their passion and desire through the simplest, most economic gestures. Patriotism's eroticism extends, as Mishima would have it, to seppuku itself. Not that Takeyama's self-disembowelment is a pleasure to watch--in fact, it's horrifying and looks rather realistic. Yet it is another act of the flesh shared between Takeyama and Reiko, a bridge to some place where love and doom meet. This Criterion Collection disc also features a filmed interview with Mishima, as well as an audio recording of a talk he gave. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Playwright and novelist Yukio Mishima predicted his own suicide with this ravishing short feature, his only foray into filmmaking yet directed with the expressiveness and confidence of a true cinema artist. All prints of Patriotism (Yukoku), which depicts the seppuku (ritual suicide) of a naval officer, were destroyed after Mishima's death in 1970, though the negative was saved, and the film resurfaced thirty-five years later. New viewers will be stunned at the depth and clarity of Mishima's vision, as well as his graphic depictions of sex and death. The film is presented here with a choice of Japanese or English intertitles.


• New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the Japanese and English versions, with optional Japanese or English intertitles • A 45-minute audio interview with Yukio Mishima speaking to the Foreign Correspondents' Association • A 45-minute making-of documentary, featuring crew from the film's production • Interview excerpts featuring Mishima discussing war and death • New and improved English subtitle translation • PLUS: A new essay by renowned critic and historian Tony Rayns, Mishima's original novella, and Mishima's extensive notes on the film's production

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifyingly Beautiful February 9, 2011
What can I say about this short film? It's 27 minutes of some of the most amazing filming I have seen.

The Criterion version has an 'English Version' in which the scrolls are replaced with English words. It doesn't really affect the actual film... but I still viewed the Japanese version in which captions translate the wording.

The extras are amazing. There are two interviews with Mishima from around this time which are just plain eerie. He discusses Japan's defeat in the war and what that meant to him as well as his views on death. Again... just eerie. There are also several blocks of an audio only Q&A session by the Foreign press in which Mishima answers in very good English. There is one more interview with the surviving crew from the filming.

The film itself is gut wrenching (literally). Filming in black and white was the right choice. The set is arranged in a Noh theater style with sparse settings and stylized touches (such as the snow on the tree). Mishima actually provides a great performance. His Co-star Yoshiko Tsuruoka is also very good.

There is a bit of a graphic moment where Mishima actually opens his belly, but I couldn't Not watch. It's kind of gruesome, but being in black and white gives it the appearance of ink, and as it stretches on the floor like a spilled inkwell.

Even if Mishima had not committed Seppuku later in his life, this film would still be haunting and mesmerizing. The fact that Mishima visited the same fate several years later only adds to the shock of this film.

Also of note: this film was lost and all surviving copies ordered destroyed my Mishima's widow. This copy was found in a tea cellar in 2005 and luckily Criterion got the thumbs up to restore and release it. Something with this much power and magnitude deserves to be preserved and viewed by generations to come.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Yukio Mishima, one of Japan's greatest writers and artists, made only one film, Patriotism, and our good friends at Criterion have released it in this very reasonably priced edition. The film is only 27 minutes long, and has no dialogue (though it has "written" narration). It's really a striking piece of work, and quite startling at times. It is also very gory and bloody, and can even make today's gorehounds grimace. I think the violence and blood in this film are much more effective is because they actually mean something, as opposed to many films today who seem to push the uncomfortable gore quotient with no reasoning or rhyming behind it. Yukio Mishima was an incredibly prolific, intense, brilliant, convulted, complex, and artistic individual, a man of many faces, masks, illusions, and realities, and this DVD is an absolute must for any of his fans. If you're not a Mishima fan, you should still rent/buy this disc, as you may become one. The film deals with many Mishima themes, that of patriotism, loyalty, the code of the Samurai, loyalty, modern vs. feudal Japan, etc., and the film is really quite good. It's staged on a Noh stage, which gives it a very distinct feel. If it was done in a realistic manner, it would have been immensely boring, but Mishima makes good choices by filming it in this manner.

Granted, this film is not the greatest of Mishima's artistic output (that is his Sea of Fertility tetraology), but it's still absolutely fascinating and holds up quite well today. The music in the film is a bit overdone, but as the film progresses, one adjusts and it becomes less intrusive. The DVD also includes snippets of Mishima interviews, and it's absolutely brilliant stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning film February 24, 2010
Forget all the other stuff - this is film making at its' best. Wonderfully conceived, beautifully filmed. I only wish that we had directors today that could put as much passion and story telling on the screen with such economy. Essential viewing for any student of film and any aspiring screenwriter, DP or director.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars for your entertainment and consideration, hara-kiri June 18, 2010
By cxlxmx
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Patriotism is an amateur short art film. It was shot on a single set in black and white. Without dialogue, the sound track is a complete and unbroken excerpt from Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde." The subject matter is the ritual suicide of a Japanese army officer and his wife.

I will admit to having a weak stomach. Between the nihilism that passes for entertainment in America today and film buffs who refuse to look away in disgust, we have an entire cinematic culture of violence, epitomized by films I won't even watch like Hostel. Yes, I have a weak stomach, but that doesn't mean I can't tell the difference between a shoot-em-up action flick, a horror film, etc, and it doesn't change the fact that death, pain, and murder are parts of life. Therefore, I find writer/director Mishima confusing and both fascinating and revolting. This has been true ever since I saw "A Life in Four Chapters" in high school and started reading Mishima's work. What do you make of someone who actually conflates sexuality, death, youth, not as a poseur but in his own mind? Aside from Mishima's own suicide, Patriotism is his clearest expression of this tendency. It is appropriately difficult to know what to make of it. The film consists almost entirely of a scene of lovemaking followed by a scene of disembowelment. The actors are attractive and youthful, and the camera lingers over their bodies, as it does eventually over their bloodstains. The film is technically good and affecting, but not enjoyable. It is difficult to watch. Has it expanded my understanding or my artistic appreciation? I'm not sure. I can't recommend it or pan it. It exists out there, and you can choose to look or not. I for one place no value on choosing to look, although I had to myself.
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