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Patriotism (The Criterion Collection)

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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. SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: 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

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Yukio Mishima
  • Directors: Yukio Mishima
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 30 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016AKSOQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,430 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Patriotism (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Barrett TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2011
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The packaging for Patriotism is elegantly designed. The DVD case resembles a book in the fine paper used as a cover and the print of Mishima as Lieutenant Takeyama, seated, darkly lighted, staring at a dagger in front of him. The DVD case is similar in design and is accompanied by a book that contains the story Patriotism, production notes by Mishima and an essay by Tony Rayns on the making of the film. The booklet is nicely illustrated with still pictures from the film and a group photograph on Mishima and his co-star with the production crew.

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.
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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 kill his friends, and his wife agrees to kill herself alongside him.

It's beautifully shot, very simple, and is very graphic, considering how long ago the film was made.

I picked it up as a fan of the Criterion Collection. It is one of the most graphic films I've seen released by them.

The DVD set includes the Japanese and English version (scrolls spread out and moved by the director). There's a few cool special features and a booklet with the digipack, which includes the short film.

It's a great movie, but probably not worth everyone's attention given the subject matter and graphic suicide of the stars.

I'd recommend paying no more than 12 for this, which is a bargain since the short story alone can fetch about the same price.

If you are a glutton for novel(la)->film closeness, this film is one of the few well done adaptations that matches the film you see in your head, as some readers do, compared to most films, which is pretty cool if you're into that sorta thing. No complicated love story thrown in that doesn't exist in the book, so yeah!
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Format: DVD
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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