Customer Reviews


45 Reviews
5 star:
 (34)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful work!
Anthology of ghost stories adapted from Lafcadio Hearn , American writer who lived in Japan .
Visually stunning.
The third chapter is the best. It turns around a poet who must create a epic poem about an ancient battle dictated for the leader of this dead regiment, killed in action, who emerges from the ashes to find out someone who reminds always the echoes of...
Published on July 6 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
This movie was far from what I've expected. First and last stories are barely interesting at all. It was a very theatrical experience, with overdone performances and stage-like lighting. Most interesting piece to me was the story of the earless.
Published on June 6 2001 by ichpokhudezh


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful work!, July 6 2004
By 
Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Anthology of ghost stories adapted from Lafcadio Hearn , American writer who lived in Japan .
Visually stunning.
The third chapter is the best. It turns around a poet who must create a epic poem about an ancient battle dictated for the leader of this dead regiment, killed in action, who emerges from the ashes to find out someone who reminds always the echoes of that bloody combat.
Extraordinary!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful movie, April 2 2013
Achat Amazon vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Do you like ghost stories or old legends? Do you like movies with a dream-like quality, where all the scenes look like paintings? If you do, then this is the movie for you. I first watched Kwaidan when I was 16 years old, and after ordering and watching it again 10 years later, the impression is still the same: what a wonderful movie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!, Aug. 18 2003
By 
"panyafe" (Richland, WA United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
I just loved this movie after I finished watching it. That old-japanese-movie-style was perfect, showing and reiterating over and over again the great devotion that the Japaneses have to their culture.
This movie was mainly based by two things:
1- The typical Asain superstition

and
2- The more than enthyusiastic and amazing stories of the samurais.
From this movie, my favorite story was the last one, which was about a blind man who was offering his services to the temple, since he knew how to play excellently the japanese instrument, which I completely forgot its name. A ghost, an antique warrior from one of the first battles between two important clans, came to visit Oichi (who was the blind man) by being so that he could tell the history of that battle to warrior's queen, who was ghost as well... For many nights, Oichi went to sing the battle to the queen. Until one night, that the priest, that Oishi was working for, discovers that Oichi was singing for the ghosts... Finally, a helper from the priest writes the sacred text all over Oichi's body. Alas, the helper forgets to write it on Oichi's ears, so when the warrior came to visit Oishi one last time, he was able to see his ears, so he decided to cut them off...and Oichi finally becomes, Oichi the Earless.
The great screenplay for each of the stories was just sublime! Very well-done, full of details... A must-see even if you aren't a lover of Asian movies!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind film., June 28 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Spoilers --yes, it is important always to announce coming spoilers because there are still people who haven't seen this film. (After hearing about it for a decade, I hadn't seen it till this past week.)
There is surely little I can add to what's already been said here about this film. So maybe what I have to say boils down to a YES vote for the pacing, atmosphere and story content of Kwaidan. But I will venture a few comments.
Unlike some other reviewers, I don't consider the first two tales, Woman of the Snow and The Black Hair-- nor the last tale, In a Cup of Tea-- negligible. Your pulse and breathing slows, the pitch of your senses drops an octave and even time seems to step off its treadmill to oblivion as you enter into the warp and weft of Kwaidan through The Black Hair. Over all, the director showed great ingenuity in the way he 'shot around' moments that could have been sunk by the formative level of special effects at that time. (How many films of this vintage are ruined for modern viewers by the universal presence of the veritable zipper in the back of the monster suit? Nearly all. This film avoids that pitfall, and yet still manages to give you something awesome to look at. --In other words, the director didn't just lazily avert his camera's gaze, as low budget horror films of the time often do, and fall back on what became an abused old saw that "the audience can always supply stronger horrors in their mind than I could for them." The director gives us plenty to look at and remember visually later.)
Woman of the Snow develops a poignant relationship between a wife-- who is not what she appears-- and her husband. Their story is sweet. You hope they prosper as a family, while you fear otherwise. A tone that is basically domestic and anti-horrific is set. When the serenity of their lives is climactically shattered, it is doubly hard to watch. You feel pity and sorrow for the man, and even for the monster, more than horror. There is no gore. A beautiful way of life is dissolved forever by a careless word, a moment of candor with a loved one that prompts unforeseeable consequences. That is real horror.
Hoichi is probably the standout story, if only because it is given the full space in time for which storytelling at this sort of pace begs. The visual effects in those scenes involving Hoichi's visits to the dead are handled with incredible deftness. They are the best this pre-cgi, pre-morph technology era could have hoped to achieve and they still stand up amazingly. I fairly gasped when I saw these scenes.(The most beautiful use of what are essentially dissolves I have seen.) This segment makes some of the best use of silence and near silence also. As the ghost assaults Hoichi, there are sparse, muted musique concrete plocks and bings on the soundtrack. The effect is suffocating. No flurry of Wagnerian sturm und drang could have worked as well for this rending scene.
After the breadth and luxury of the Hoichi segment, In a Cup of Tea may seem a little abrupt. This is not a bad thing. Hoichi was allowed enough latitude that they even managed some rare comic relief there. A Cup of Tea is a tart, terse afterword of a segment. It's like an episode of the half hour Alfred Hitchcock Presents in that it explodes the surprise at the very end, then exits with no comment at all. This is perfectly in keeping with Hearn's source stories or a John Collier or W.W. Jacobs short story. --Anything written in the form after Poe, really. Everything builds toward the final effect.
If you haven't seen Kwaidan, I recommend it. You need a grey day, first of all, or a night to view it. You need to banish all your irreverant, overly-ironic friends who might surprise you and 'get it', but as likely won't. And you have to want to like it. If all these conditions are in place, I can almost guarantee you'll be very glad you invested the time in the film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Four Japanese Ghost Stories, June 13 2004
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Kwaidan, though it has some flaws in regard to pacing (it moves just too slowly sometimes) is a visually striking, very colorful film that is a pleasure to look at. This print is crystal clear and very sharp; Criterion usually does a good job in that sense.
Surprisingly, these traditional Japanese ghost tales very much resemble the classic English ghost stories of writers like J.S. Le Fanu or M.R. James--more subtlety, less bombast, working by suggestion and atmosphere. Don't expect a whiz-bang, fast-paced film with a lot of shocks. It's a slow, quiet film.
In my opinion, the two best stories are the first two, "The Black Hair" (reminiscent of Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily") and "The Woman in the Snow" (something like Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo").
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The best Japansese film written by a westerner!, June 5 2004
By 
Ted "Ted" (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD of the film.
When seeing this film, one will be shocked that is based on the book written by an Irish/Greek man who lived in Japan for only the last 15 years of his life.
The film has 4 seperate stories.
Black Hair is about a man who divorces his wife for a richer woman.
Woman of the Snow is about 2 woodcutters who get stranded during a blizzard. A snow vampire later finds them and kills the older man and spares the life of the other on a condition that he tells no one about what happened.
Hoichi the Earless is about a blind young man who has a talent for reciting songs about a real life 12th century battle between the Heike and Genji clans. The ghosts of those killed in the battle summon him to their place of rest to perform for them.
In a Cup of Tea is about a man who sees another man's reflection in his tea.
The DVD only has the theatrical trailer for a special feature.
The second episode is my favorite.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Organic Color!!!, March 2 2004
By 
D. Knouse (vancouver, washington United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
The photography in this film is alive! The sets and costumes are vibrant and brilliantly hued and the cinematography captures it in all its painted glory! But besides that...the stories in this film are all interesting, with some very original ideas. They are four Japanese ghost stories, each one with either a surprise ending or a surreal plot twist that made me want to watch the next one. Some of the stories are genuinely creepy, while others are not so much creepy, but more along the lines of folklore, like tales form The Brothers Grim with an Eastern flavor. While I've read critical reviews hailing this as a masterpiece of traditional Japanese story-telling, I don't completely agree. There is plenty here to marvel at, and much of it does seem perfect for the time it was made(1965), but in the end it is a collection of ghost stories, well-made and thoughtfully produced, with memorable scenes that linger long after the film ends. This is a solid edition to my DVD collection, and it is easy to recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The most beautiful film i ever saw, Aug. 30 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
I remember seeing this movie on halloween night of 2002 on IFC when they were playing the most beautiful and bizarre films ever made, after watching a lot of classic american horror films, i was already bored of watching them, because i already knew what was going to happen. I remember it was around 8 pm, noone home i was on the computer typing something and figure it wouldnt be worth sitting down watching these movie, until this movie the first of the six movies they were playing. The credits alone at the beginning of the film and the music made me want to watch it and discover what this fascinating piece of art was, i wouldnt even consider it a film, its more of 4 storys of art. So beautiful, i read somewhere that it was the first color japanese film in Japan and thats the reason why there is so much color. Something this beautiful can only be watch on a good dvd at night to see this dazzling piece. If you like this movie, check out the movie others the director did, i seen them all and they are very good.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars color, action, scary ... not to be missed!, June 15 2003
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Some useful thoughts for the prospective viewer:
1.At last! The beautiful KWAIDAN on DVD! We can expect even better color and visuals than even the VHS transfers.
2. KWAIDAN was originally released on two (count 'em: two) VHS tapes. It's long!
On VHS, at 2-and-one-half-plus hours, the new release on a one-tape cassette version is pushing it, and prone to damage. ( I've had similar problems with my one-cassette VHS edition of Bergman's lengthy 'Scenes from a Marriage.') Get a DVD player, and the KWAIDAN DVD, in preference to the more fragile one-cassette VHS release.
3. Despite its careful pacing this film is scary. One two tape edition was released with warnings on the box that KWAIDAN is not for children.
KWAIDAN is not for the pacemaker crowd, either. Like watching Bergman, be sure you've been eating your Wheaties. You may not actually need a doctor's clearance to watch KWAIDAN, however... but be forewarned: KWAIDAN is a powerful film, full of surprises.
4. "slow?" Broaden your horizons ... think of film from a new point of view. Films like KWAIDAN use such pacing to contribute to the film's overall impact. Director's use pacing of whatever type, for a reason. Better than rushing thru the experience, believe me. Put your ideas about Disney-paced ghost stories aside, please. Kwaidan is a work of art, to put it in a nutshell.
Give yourself the time and chance to get into KWAIDAN. It's worth it. Time well-repaid, you will be richly rewarded.
5. "Only four stories?" some reverse psychology hiding in such an idea: would that all similar oriental ghost stories could receive a similar excellent/superior treatment! The real regret here may be that they are done so well, it 'disappoints' us because other ghost stories don't all receive such lavish and excellent professional treatment. ie, KWAIDAN is so excellent, it's almost unfair!
One begins to realize, at some point in viewing KWAIDAN, how much expense and trouble went in to the making of this film.
6. Film illiteracy and immaturities block many of us from full appreciation of KWAIDAN. Just "don't let this happen to you!"
As we all know, attitudes and prejudices can be destructive. Would that we had such a democratic attitude towards excellent film! Our appreciation of KWAIDAN is thereby immeasurably enriched, enhanced. Educational (*yawn*) it is, but is also enjoyably rich, lavish, and exciting, once you get into it. Believe me, your senses will not be cheated!
I'm no massively huge fan of artistic orientalia either, on film or otherwise - but that doesn't keep me from loving KWAIDAN!
As an impatient foreign language teacher of mine used to say, "Don't be a cultural boor!"
7. 'Uneven' moments ? Perhaps. However, we must allow for cultural/artisitic differences between modern West and ancient East. You needn't be a sinophile Kabuki or 'Noh' drama fan to get alot out of KWAIDAN. Not being oriental, we may not be in a position to fairly judge. But that is no reason to miss KWAIDAN. It's not an excruciating gymnastic effort of a cultural leap, to dial oneself to come to appreciate the rich momentum of this film. We can bravely give ourselves the permission, and allow ourselves to be receptive to KWAIDAN. This would not be cultural snobbery.
Grant yourself the privilege!
8. KWAIDAN easily competes with 'Gates of Hell' (50s) as one of the most beautiful films ever made in Japan. Relish it. 'The Snow Queen' tale is visually colorful and magnificent. The battle scenes in 'Hoichi the Earless' episode easily compete with anything else in color ('Kagemusha' fans, take note!)...no need to extenuate. Let's not cry and spill our coca-cola and popcorn because KWAIDAN isn't 'Terminator 2.' There is another kind of excitement and action here to enjoy and appreciate. This is a lavish film!
Certainly KWAIDAN ranks with 'Seven Samurai' and 'Tokyo Story' as one of the top handful of films ever to come out of Japan.
9. Soundtrack: effective and haunting music of a classic oriental style. This film no doubt caused pop stars of the 60s to introduce such music and oriental instruments into their repertoire, for effect. No better example than KWAIDAN to derive from. Quite the presentation.
10. DON'T miss Kobayashi's other excellent film 'Harakiri,'(b&w, 60s) which many consider at least as excellent as KWAIDAN (though shorter, and not in color.)Ie, there's more excellent Kobayashi where KWAIDAN came from ... one needn't feel deprived.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars color, action, scary ... not to be missed!, June 15 2003
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Some useful thoughts for the prospective viewer:
1.At last! The beautiful KWAIDAN on DVD! We can expect even better color and visuals than even the VHS transfers.
2. KWAIDAN was originally released on two (count 'em: two) VHS tapes. It's long!
On VHS, at 2-and-one-half-plus hours, the new release on a one-tape cassette version is pushing it, and prone to damage. ( I've had similar problems with my one-cassette VHS edition of Bergman's lengthy 'Scenes from a Marriage.') Get a DVD player, and the KWAIDAN DVD, in preference to the more fragile one-cassette VHS release.
3. Despite its careful pacing this film is scary. One two tape edition was released with warnings on the box that KWAIDAN is not for children.
KWAIDAN is not for the pacemaker crowd, either. Like watching Bergman, be sure you've been eating your Wheaties. You may not actually need a doctor's clearance to watch KWAIDAN, however... but be forewarned: KWAIDAN is a powerful film, full of surprises.
4. "slow?" Broaden your horizons ... think of film from a new point of view. Films like KWAIDAN use such pacing to contribute to the film's overall impact. Director's use pacing of whatever type, for a reason. Better than rushing thru the experience, believe me. Put your ideas about Disney-paced ghost stories aside, please. Kwaidan is a work of art, to put it in a nutshell.
Give yourself the time and chance to get into KWAIDAN. It's worth it. Time well-repaid, you will be richly rewarded.
5. "Only four stories?" some reverse psychology hiding in such an idea: would that all similar oriental ghost stories could receive a similar excellent/superior treatment! The real regret here may be that they are done so well, it 'disappoints' us because other ghost stories don't all receive such lavish and excellent professional treatment. ie, KWAIDAN is so excellent, it's almost unfair!
One begins to realize, at some point in viewing KWAIDAN, how much expense and trouble went in to the making of this film.
6. Film illiteracy and immaturities block many of us from full appreciation of KWAIDAN. Just "don't let this happen to you!"
As we all know, attitudes and prejudices can be destructive. Would that we had such a democratic attitude towards excellent film! Our appreciation of KWAIDAN is thereby immeasurably enriched, enhanced. Educational (*yawn*) it is, but is also enjoyably rich, lavish, and exciting, once you get into it. Believe me, your senses will not be cheated!
I'm no massively huge fan of artistic orientalia either, on film or otherwise - but that doesn't keep me from loving KWAIDAN!
As an impatient foreign language teacher of mine used to say, "Don't be a cultural boor!"
7. 'Uneven' moments ? Perhaps. However, we must allow for cultural/artisitic differences between modern West and ancient East. You needn't be a sinophile Kabuki or 'Noh' drama fan to get alot out of KWAIDAN. Not being oriental, we may not be in a position to fairly judge. But that is no reason to miss KWAIDAN. It's not an excruciating gymnastic effort of a cultural leap, to dial oneself to come to appreciate the rich momentum of this film. We can bravely give ourselves the permission, and allow ourselves to be receptive to KWAIDAN. This would not be cultural snobbery.
Grant yourself the privilege!
8. KWAIDAN easily competes with 'Gates of Hell' (50s) as one of the most beautiful films ever made in Japan. Relish it. 'The Snow Queen' tale is visually colorful and magnificent. The battle scenes in 'Hoichi the Earless' episode easily compete with anything else in color ('Kagemusha' fans, take note!)...no need to extenuate. Let's not cry and spill our coca-cola and popcorn because KWAIDAN isn't 'Terminator 2.' There is another kind of excitement and action here to enjoy and appreciate. This is a lavish film!
Certainly KWAIDAN ranks with 'Seven Samurai' and 'Tokyo Story' as one of the top handful of films ever to come out of Japan.
9. Soundtrack: effective and haunting music of a classic oriental style. This film no doubt caused pop stars of the 60s to introduce such music and oriental instruments into their repertoire, for effect. No better example than KWAIDAN to derive from. Quite the presentation.
10. DON'T miss Kobayashi's other excellent film 'Harakiri,'(b&w, 60s) which many consider at least as excellent as KWAIDAN (though shorter, and not in color.)Ie, there's more excellent Kobayashi where KWAIDAN came from ... one needn't feel deprived.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb16beab0)

This product

Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
Kwaidan (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) by Masaki Kobayashi (DVD - 2002)
CDN$ 35.81
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews