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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")
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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:

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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

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

Quotes

Osamu: They don't even know that art is a shadow... that stage blood is not enough.
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

Referenced in Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A beautiful work of art
22 October 1999 | by (Charlotte) – See all my reviews

Movies are something you see on Saturday night and forget by Sunday morning. Motion pictures are works of art that stick with you forever. Mishima falls into the latter category. This is the type of thing that should win Academy Awards, a brilliant, visual peice of film that is both depressing and uplifting. Instead of doing a straightforward look at the life of Yukio Mishima, director Paul Schrader interweaves three adaptations of the author's stories into a look at his past and final day on Earth, the day he tried to lead the Japanese military into rebellion in the name of the Emperor. Failing to do that, he commits ritual suicide in an ending that hits you like a ton of bricks. The three short story adaptations allow a look into what led him to this and are presented in an experimental way that makes them appear to be filmed stage plays. Ken Ogata is magnificent as Mishima. Despite his eccentricities, he comes off as very sympathetic, a man who is quite willing to die for his beliefs and does. This makes the ending that much more devastating and the sense of loss more meaningful. Of the three story adaptations, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko's House and Runaway Horses, it is the last that is the strongest and most emotional. It also is the story that most closely matches Mishima's mood in his final years and illustrates what truly led him to the events of November 1970. This review cannot be complete without a mention of Philip Glass' striking musical score. Not since 2001 has a film score been such a perfect compliment to it's visuals. Paul Schrader crafted one of the most beautiful movies of the 1980s or any other decade for that matter. Have the hankies at the ready because the ending will leave you in tears. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters reminds you that sometimes film can still be an art form and as art it is brilliant.


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