Patriotism (The Criterion Collection)
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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.
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.Read more ›
I have been curious about Patriotism since I first saw Paul Schrader’s film back in 1985. I was unaware that Mishima’s widow had all prints of Patriotism destroyed, except for the negative. The film was far more artistic in rendering its subject than I expected. The opening where a ghostly outline of Mishima is caressing his wife was an interesting touch. The lighting is very beautifully handled with beautiful shadings of light and dark. I think that non-Japanese viewers should see the slightly longer English version before viewing the Japanese version. It is advantageous to have read the story written out in English on the scrolls. The new high definition restoration enhances the film beautifully. I was naturally wondering how the act of committing seppuku would be depicted on the screen. It was blood but not unnecessarily gory, and the intent by Mishima was not to shock but treat ritual suicide with some poetry. This is especially true of the final frames of the film where the Lieutenant and Reiko ((Yoshiko Tsuruoka) are shown in a kind of apotheosis, joined forever in death.
The extras are interesting. The 45-minute documentary with members of the film’s production staff provides a lot of insight into the making of Patriotism.Read more ›
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This is a very short film directed and starring the writer of a short story that it is based on.
A husband decides to commit seppuku, or hara kiri, rather than having to... Read more
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... Read morePublished on June 18, 2010 by cxlxmx