While their mother is dying in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital, two young children are told a tale by their Icelandic grandmother about Einar the Lonely, his friend Gunnar, and the ... See full summary »
Inspired by fairy-tales such as Alice in Wonderland and Little Red-Riding Hood, "Valerie and her Week of Wonders" is a surreal tale in which love, fear, sex and religion merge into one fantastic world.
In the World War II, the pacifist and humanist Japanese Kaji accepts to travel with his wife Michiko to the tiny Manchurian village Loh Hu Liong to work as supervisor in an iron ore mine to... See full summary »
A bag full of symbolic folklore about werewolves, or, rather, their sexual connotation. Granny tells her granddaughter Rosaleen strange, disturbing tales about innocent maidens falling in ... See full summary »
The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
Part three of a trilogy. After the Japanese defeat to the Russians in the last episode, Kaji, the Japanese soldier and humanist protagonist, leads the last remaining men through Manchuria .... See full summary »
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
This film contains four distinct, separate stories. "Black Hair": A poor samurai who divorces his true love to marry for money, but finds the marriage disastrous and returns to his old wife, only to discover something eerie about her. "The Woman in the Snow": Stranded in a snowstorm, a woodcutter meets an icy spirit in the form of a woman spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone about her. A decade later he forgets his promise. "Hoichi the Earless": Hoichi is a blind musician, living in a monastery who sings so well that a ghostly imperial court commands him to perform the epic ballad of their death battle for them. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. But they've forgotten something. "In a Cup of Tea": a writer tells the story of a man who keep seeing a mysterious face reflected in his cup of tea. Written by
Although most of the vignettes acknowledge a passage of time, in some cases several years, the months of principle action in the film are, in order, September, December, March, and February (or New Year's Day of the Fourth Tenwa). See more »
marvellous fairy-tales: directorial and cinematographic fabulous
Cinematographer Yoshio Miyajima did a marvellous job, although most of the visuals in this masterpiece are obviously invented by Kobayashi. It is clearly studio-work, but Kobayashi turns that to his advance by making the most marvellous background paintings I've ever seen in a movie and his virtuosity comes to full exposure in the light effects that are fabulous for such an old film. That together with the beautiful colors creates a mesmerizing and sometimes terrifying experience. 'Marco the magnificent' (Patelliere&Howard, 1964) reminded me of the visuals in Kwaidan, because of the beautiful environmental shots and because of the (supposed) history of mixture of eastern and western stories. Forget that movie instantly plz. Another film that has nothing to do with this one, but is brilliant and comparable only because of the episode structure, the fairy-tale nature and great cinematography is Kaos (Taviani, 1984).
Kwaidan has such a haunting effect because of the scary music and the sound effects are unnerving(-ly edited). Some call it horror. I thought the pace was rather slow for horror, but it is a film that does not let go easily. The actors (one of which is Takeshi Shimura) convince enthusiastically and they too make it an entertaining film. According to the user-rating this is Kobayashi's least interesting work of these three: Joi-uchi, Seppuku, and Kwaidan. I can't wait to see the other two, although I don't think they can surpass this masterpiece.
10 points out of 10 :-)
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