Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
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MISHIMA:A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTER
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Top Customer Reviews
Long story short, I bought this film sight unseen and I cannot stop thinking about it. The music haunts me (in a pleasant way), and the images and the ideas of Mishima have been playing in my mind. I had read two novels of Mishima's, so I was familiar with him and his work.
Here is a man, arguably the greatest postwar author Japan has had, who wrote 35 novels, over a dozen plays, several operas, a ballet, over 400 short stories and essays, directed and starred in a movie he wrote, and starred in a few more. And in 1970, at the age of 45, after creating his own army, committed suicide after a vein attempt to incite revolution in the Army. Oh, he was also a body builder.
Just like the deafness in Beethoven, it is the army building and suicide that everybody obsesses about when they study Mishima. It is true for the last decade of his life he tipped to the right in political views to the point of fervent fanaticism, but he still managed to balance his passion with his desire for beauty and existence. In the end he hoped to unify it all in one swift moment that is death.Read more ›
As it turns out, this is one of the most powerful films I've ever seen.
Mishima was a famous Japanese writer who tried to live his beliefs. In the end, he became a character from his own novels, merging art with life.
The film is told by inter-cutting scenes from his life (filmed in black and white, like an old Japanese film), scenes from three of his novels (brightly colored, very theatrically performed) and the final day of his life. The transitions from scene to scene are thematically and cinematically chosen, so that you see how the events of his life were reflected in his stories, and how the ideas in his stories later found expression in his life.
The only movie I can compare this to is Fellini's 8 1/2, although it's quite different from that, of course. But both films are about the thin line separating one's art from one's actual life and both films utilize thematic transitions from the past, fantasy, and "reality."
When you're done watching this movie, be sure to watch it a second time with the director's commentary. His stories about the making of the film and why it was never shown in Japan are fascinating. In the end, as he says, it was a film financed by nobody, made to be seen by nobody.
Damn good flick!
In the transfer to DVD, another narrator replaced Roy Scheider's contribution and, the masterpiece virtually destroyed. To me this is a lesson in how delicate the creative elements comprising a film can be. Change one element and the entire work can be altered beyond artistic recognition.
The behind the scenes documentary "Inside Mishima" is a nice addition but the main feature is not worth seeing in this form. What were the producers of this DVD thinking? I hope they rethink this release someday so film buffs can re-discover, what may very well be, Paul Schrader's finest film to date.
Most recent customer reviews
A beautifully filmed true story of a writer caught in a sword vs pen dilemma, and his ideologically intense but doomed attempt at action. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2010 by ConcreteDreamer
Perhaps Paul Schraeder should have kept Mishima's words in mind when he wrote and directed this disaster of an art movie.
The central concept of the movie is an abomination. Read more
It struck me whilst watching Mishima that the film has a very clear, but perhaps unintentional, interpretation of his behaviour in his final years. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2004 by Jonathan Harris
With its multiple timeframes, minimalist aesthetic, and intercut dramatized extracts from Mishima's novels, on paper this film sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Read morePublished on Sept. 20 2003 by Steven Reynolds
A stunning film about the great Japanese writer whose spectacular suicide at the Japanese Defense Headquarters shocked the world. Read morePublished on March 25 2003 by the wizard of uz
What a wonderful film. I initally picked it up because, as a fan of George Lucas, I own every film that Lucasfilm put out. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002 by Jon Cruz
but I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Many of the reviews given about this film (on dvd) seem to be highly disappointing. Read morePublished on Sept. 24 2002 by pixelgrrl
I had never heard of the writer Mishima before seeing this movie on videotape in the mid-1980's. Since that time I have read many of Mishima's books and have enjoyed most of them... Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2002 by K. O. RN
This film is a masterpiece of cinema and by far my favourite film. I have video copies of the English version and the Japanese version (Japanese narration with English subtitles),... Read morePublished on May 13 2002