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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

7.9
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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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Director: Paul Schrader
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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

Plot Keywords:

japan | author | zen | zen master | zen acolyte | See more »

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

A substantial amount of the finance was Japanese although, bizarrely, the Toho studio and their partners have persistently denied that they sunk $2 million dollars into the film. Director Paul Schrader : " I moved to Japan and we had a Japanese producer who was able to raise half of the budget through his own money and from Fuji Television and Toho-Towa. Then, of course, the Japanese financiers tried to pull out at the last minute because of pressure from the widow. There was another drama involving that and the end result was that they gave us the money but claimed that they didn't. To this day, they claim that they did not finance the film." See more »

Goofs

General Mashita wiped the sword with tissue paper, not cloth. See more »

Quotes

Yukio Mishima (Narrator): Men wear masks to make themselves beautiful. But unlike a woman's, a man's determination to become beautiful is always a desire for death.
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

Edited into Visions of Light (1992) 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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