The Criterion Collection
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(Jun 01, 2010)
The Criterion Collection
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Japanese ghost stories from tales by Lafcadio Hearn include a samurai who wakes up with a corpse.
A masterpiece of filmmaking artifice and mood-setting atmosphere, Kwaidan consists of four ghost stories adapted from the fiction of Greek-born Lafcadio Hearn (a.k.a. Yakumo Koizumi, 1850-1904), who assimilated into Japanese culture so thoroughly that his writings reveal no evidence of Western influence. So it is that these four cinematic interpretations--perhaps more accurately described as tales of spectral visitation--are sublimely Japanese in tone and texture, created entirely in a studio with frequently stunning results. There are painterly images here that remain the most beautiful and haunting in all of Japanese cinema, presented with the purity of silent film, sparsely accompanied by post-synchronized sounds and music (by Toru Takemitsu) that enhance the otherworldly effect of director Masaki Kobayashi's meticulous imagery. When viewed in a receptive frame of mind, Kwaidan can be intensely hypnotic.
Each of the four stories find their protagonists confronted by spirits that compel them to (respectively) make amends for past mistakes, maintain vows of silence, satisfy the yearnings of the undead, or capture phantoms that remain frightfully elusive. As each tale progresses, their supernatural elements grow increasingly intense and distant from the confines of reality. With careful use of glorious color and wide-screen composition, Kwaidan exists in a netherworld that is both real and imagined, its characters never quite sure they can trust what they've seen and heard. Vastly different from the more overt shocks of Western horror, the film casts a supernatural spell that remains timelessly effective. --Jeff Shannon
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non-fiction books (Christian); history; ancient biblical archaeology and cultural anthropology. I also love watching foriegn films.
Kwaidan is a Japanese (4) story horror movie which is excellent and I have been watching this movie since I was a little girl.
the translation is "ghost story" Kwaidan. is a 1964 Japanese portmanteau film directed by Masaki Kobayashi; the title means 'ghost
story'. It is based on stories from Lafcadio Hearn's collections of Japanese folk tales. The film consists of four separate and unrelated stories. Kwaidan is the archaic transliteration of Kaidan, meaning "ghost story". It won the Special Jury Prize at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination. Kaidan is a Japanese word consisting of two kanji. In its broadest sense, kaidan refers to any ghost or horror story, but it has an old-fashioned ring to it that carries the connotation of Edo period Japanese folktales. Kaidan may have been influenced by its Chinese counterpart, a collection of ghost stories known as Liaozhai
zhiyi , or more popularly known as Liaozhai. The term is no longer as widely used in Japanese as it once was: Japanese horror books and films such as Ju-on and Ring would more likely be labeled by the katakana horā ("horror") or the standard Japanese kowai hanashi Kaidan is only used if the author/director wishes to specifically bring an old-fashioned air into the story. It is an
unusual ghost stories - nothing like the so called horror movies that you would find in the states. There are a lot of lessons to be
learned after watching these stories. I loved Kwaidan, but, you would have to appreciate foriegn films and especially foriegn horror
films. This is not a episode of slasher movies. These 4 stories all have to do with the "SUPERNATURAL"!!! and it is all subtitled
in english. I hope you enjoy it.
Kwaidan consists of four short stories.
Black Hair - is about a selfish samurai who abandons his poor wife to get position and a wealthy wife. He grows tired of her and his new life and longs for his old wife. Their reunion is bittersweet and ghoulish.
The Snow Woman - the beginning is just surreal with an imaginative painted backdrop from which the eyes of the snow spirit appear. It feels like stepping into one of those hoary old forests of fairy tales. Yuki Onna is the snow woman who freezes her victims. She represents the beauty and cruelty of winter. In this tale she lets a young woodsman live so long as he never tells his tale of their meeting.
Hoichi the Earless - this is my favorite story! It tells of a blind biwa player who unknowingly plays for the ghosts of a defeated samurai clan. The battle scenes are beautiful and sad. The colors, the imaginary, and the sound of the biwa combine to make this story a masterpiece in every respect. To protect Hoichi from these restless forlorn spirits, he is covered in Buddhist texts from head to toe all save his ears...
In a Tea Cup - this is a strange story that never really gets explained as the viewer will discover at the end. A samurai retainer to quench his thirst drinks from a tea cup from which the image of strange smiling man appears. Later the samurai is visited by this strange samurai and his retainers.
If you like movies and you like good old fashion ghost storytelling then Kwaidan is for you. Just the set pieces alone are worth watching the film for.
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The first tale is about a samurai who left the love of his life for a better job, and didn't realize how...Read more