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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

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A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan's celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (... See full summary »

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Title: Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata ...
Masayuki Shionoya ...
Morita (segment "November 25, 1970")
Hiroshi Mikami ...
Cadet #1 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Junya Fukuda ...
Cadet #2 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Shigeto Tachihara ...
Cadet #3 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Junkichi Orimoto ...
General Mashita (segment "November 25, 1970")
Naoko Ôtani ...
Mother (segment "Flashbacks")
Gô Rijû ...
Mishima, age 18-19 (segment "Flashbacks")
Masato Aizawa ...
Mishima - age 9-14 (segment "Flashbacks")
Yuki Nagahara ...
Mishima, age 5 (segment "Flashbacks")
Kyûzô Kobayashi ...
Literary Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Yuuki Kitazume ...
Dancing Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Haruko Kato ...
Grandmother (segment "Flashbacks")
Yasosuke Bando ...
Mizoguchi (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion")
Hisako Manda ...
Mariko (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion")
Edit

Storyline

A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan's celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses), while the fourth depicts 25 November 1970, "The Last Day"... Written by Nick Lopez <ntlopez@fas.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

On November 25, 1970, Japan's greatest author Yukio Mishima commited an act that shocked the literary world...

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 September 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mishima  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$450,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are two versions of the film, one with English narration by Roy Scheider, the other with Japanese narration by Ken Ogata. The Ogata version also has scenes added by Paul Schrader that were cut out from the original 1985 release. These scenes were added by Schrader to the Criterion DVD release. Paul Schrader : "We did quite a bit of work on it--John Bailey and I worked a week redoing the D.I. and balancing the color. We did great work to the soundtrack. We added a short little scene that I had cut out featuring Chishu Ryu, the Ozu actor, that I always regretted cutting out--we found the original negative and I put that back in. I did some sky replacement at the end of "Runaway Horses" because I wasn't really happy with the shots at the end. We were able to go back and replace the natural sky with an artificial sky. Then we went back to the original digital on Philip Glass' soundtrack and so the sound is much better on the Criterion version. We also put Ken Ogata's narration in, so now it finally has Japanese narration." See more »

Goofs

The word "country" written in Japanese kanji on the hachimaki is the simplified character. On the actual hachimakis, the kanji for "country" was the long traditional form. See more »

Quotes

Yukio Mishima (Narrator): I wanted to explode, light the sky for an instant and disappear.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Yukio Mishima is acknowledged to have been a real person, but his acts have been fictionalized by writers. Other persons and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons and events is unintentional. See more »

Connections

References The Conformist (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

 
My favourite film
2 February 2001 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

This is my favourite film and I think it is perfect. Unlike virtually any other film I can name, I never watch this film and think it would have been better if they'd changed this or that or whatever. Is this the definition of a work of art? I think so. Every brushstroke in Mishima is perfect and it all flows from the Schrader's script. I've always sort of liked Paul Schrader's work (you can't argue with Taxi Driver and Light Sleeper is an amazing film), but while his writing often seems to border on the bombastic, his directing style is usually non-existent. This is deliberate, I think, because his films usually deal with a search for redemption and are set in the real world; ugly and harsh. His style suits his themes as he presents his characters in a simple and realistic way, and lets them show the audience the truth of the situation. Imagine if Schrader had directed Taxi Driver or Bringing Out The Dead, instead of Scorsese. But like the protagonists of those two films, while Mishima the man was ideal Schrader material, right-wing, vain and at odds with society, his works were subtle and beautiful. In fact he had a secondary writing career as a woman's writer, churning out what can reasonably be described as romantic potboilers. So you wouldn't necessarily imagine that Schrader was the ideal man to capture that subtlety and beauty on film. I think the film shows that he was. The script he helped fashion splits Mishima the man into three parts; his life, his death and his mind. His life is represented in black and white, still camera, formal compositions. His death, for which he will always be best remembered, is handheld documentary style. And his mind is represented by the dramatised extracts from his novels, each one revealing the thought processes of this complex man, who hardly ever wrote a character that wasn't a reflection of himself. These dramatisations are beautiful to look at, thanks to Eiko Ishioka's remarkable production design and Schrader's imaginative staging. In all parts, the acting is superb, especially from Ken Ogata as Mishima, who captures the essential charm, arrogance and narcissism of the man. The photography is excellent throughout and contains images that the viewer will retain forever. Finally, the music is simply superb, perfectly matching the images, although written and recorded before shooting, adjusted during the editorial process and then re-recorded. How much the music influenced the shoot I do not know, but it bonds perfectly to the image. I have seen many ideas of what various people think the theme of the film is, what Schrader is trying to say. You know, the big stuff about life, death etc. But I do not think the film is saying anything. Mishima has already said it, the film simply repeats.


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