Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (The Criterion Collection)
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- DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the director's cut, supervised and approved by director Paul Schrader and cinematographer John Bailey
- Optional English and Japanese voice-over narrations, the former by Roy Scheider, the latter by Ken Ogata
- New audio commentary featuring Schrader and producer Alan Poul
- The Strange Case of Yukio Mishima, a 55-minute BBC documentary about the author
- New interviews with Donald Richie and John Nathan, collaborators and friends of Yukio Mishima
- New interviews with Bailey, producers Tom Luddy and Mata Yamamoto, composer Philip Glass, and production designer Eiko Ishioka
- A new audio interview with coscreenwriter Chieko Schrader
- A video interview excerpt featuring Mishima talking about writing
- Theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Kevin Jackson and a piece on the film s censorship in Japan
The first disc houses a gorgeous transfer of the film, the theatrical trailer, and comprehensive commentary from Schrader and producer Alan Poul; the second offers a making-of featurette (with Bailey, Ishioka, and composer Philip Glass), audio and video interviews (including translator and biographer John Nathan), a 1966 chat with Mishima for French TV, and a 1985 John Hurt-narrated documentary for the BBC. Unlike Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, which found favor in the East, Paul Schrader's risk-filled endeavor resulted in a ban in his subjects home country--and the director's crowning achievement. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Top Customer Reviews
Even without the sheer strangeness of the work and improbability of its existence, this is an awesome film. "Mishima" is one of the best movies about an artist ever made. Mishima sought to make his life into a work of art, and his bid for violent political action and self-martyrdom was his terminal masterpiece.Read more ›
The film is broken down into interlocking "modules": those which depict Mishima's life and those which recreate episodes from his books. The literary recreations are done in a highly stylized manner which captures (and at times, outdoes) the mystery and poetry of the original texts. The biographical segments feature a fine sense of both drama and poetry. They capture the essence of Mishima's passion in a way that even he himself was unable to do.
The score by Philip Glass is one of the finest film scores ever written, and it turns the film almost into a kind of opera. It is far superior to any of his other compositions.
I was born a few years after Mishima committed suicide, but I am friends with two people who knew him personally, both of whom have excellent taste in both film and literature: they both recommend this film highly. The film may take some factual liberties, but it represents the fundamental nature of the man with infallible accuracy.
Whether your interest is great cinema, great literature, Japan, or Mishima himself, do yourself a favor: see this film.
I have not seen the film at the original release, but as for the difference between the fromer VHS editions of the film and this new DVD... the only difference about the voice over is...that Ken Ogata's narration in Japanese can now be heard, which is great. The English-narrated sound track is...the SAME.
I first saw the film in an old VHS in a university class, and THE ENGLISH VOICE OVERS WERE ALREADY THE SAME AS IT CAN BE HEARD ON TRACK ONE OF THIS DVD: "flat and matter-of-fact" as Mr.Schrader describes.
As a matter of fact, I did not recognize that it was Roy Scheider, though it was certainly his voice. This is very good for the film, since we are supposed to be listening to Mishima's inner reflection on his own life. It cannot be "acted out" loudly, since Mishima that we see in the film --especially in the main narrative line of it which is Mishima's last day ending with his suicide-- is always acting himself, rather flamboyantly. So the director Paul Schrader's choice of asking the actor not to "play" it, but making an "effort was made to keep the narrative flat and matter-of-fact" was very suitable for the mystery of the film.
Personally, I first did not like the narration being in English, then I started to feel that the very flat narration in a different language may be representing another dimention of Mishima's split personality that Schrader is exploring in the film.
But watching the film with Ken Ogata's narration was a revelation. The film definetely looks more complete with the Japanese narration.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have seen this film twice before; once around 1987 and the second time in 2002.
I thought I could add this film to my DVD collection. Read more
Impeccable writing and direction and cinematography. Unusual, visually provocative and stunning. I think had I had a more cultivated knowledge of Mr Mishima's life before seeing... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robert J. Sadler
You must buy this film. Beautiful cinematography paired with stunning stories and a masterpiece of a score. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Elizabeth Cook
I love this movie. However, if you love Philip Glass, go for it now. If not, do your research. Enjoy one of his books and read his bio (wikipedia or a published one). Read morePublished 8 months ago by Andrew A. Marsh
Mishima is difficult to characterize. It is something of a biographical essay about purity, beauty, art, idealism, action, and death. Read morePublished 9 months ago by rbrogan3
Very informative. I would recommend this film/documentary.Published 24 months ago by Kimberly Rachal Cone