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.
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.
The story takes place in feudal Japan, when any commerce with the rest of the world was strictly prohibited. An idealist suddenly appears in an isolated inn (the one that the title refers ... See full summary »
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
"Black Hair" ("O Cabelo Negro"): In the ancient Kyoto, a samurai decides to leave his poor but beloved wife and become a rich man marrying a wealthy wife. He misses his wife, and years later, when he returns to her, he finds a surprise waiting for him.
"The Woman in the Snow" ("A Mulher da Neve"): An old and a young woodmen are surprised by a snow storm, and the younger is saved by the spirit of a snow woman. He promises to never tell what had happened to him. Years later, he breaks his promise, disclosing the secret to his wife.
"Hoichi the Earless" ("Hoichi, O Sem Orelhas"): The blind Hoichi lives in a temple and magnificently plays his biwa and tells the sea battle of Dan-No-Ura between the clans of Genji and Heike. One night he is invited to perform his skills to a rich family and their guests in their house.
"In a Cup of Tea" ("Em Uma Xícara de Chá"): a samurai drinks water in a cup of tea, and he sees the soul of a former samurai. Later, he is haunted by the spirit.
"Kaidan" is the first work of Masaki Kobayashi that I have had the chance to see, and I am really impressed with such masterpiece of Japanese supernatural. Beginning with the visual using of awesome colors and cinematography, which look like paints on exhibition, all the stories are amazingly great without exception. The title of the third story spoils the twist, and the storyline of the second story was adapted in one episode of "Tales From the Crypt" years later. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Kwaidan, As Quatro Faces do Medo" ("Kwaidan, The Four Faces of Fear")
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