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Mishima wasn't much of an actor, but just seeing this Nobel Prize level writer playing a tough talking gangster is enough.
Karakkaze Yaro" (Afraid to Die) a 1960 gangster film by little known Japanese master of arty off-beat action dramas, Yasuzo Masumura, turned up in the series "Japanese Film Noir" at San Sebastian 2008. This film is especially remarkable for the one full-on leading role performance by famous and infamous Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima, playing a gangster-yakuza opposite Wakao Ayako, one of the most beautiful and popular Japanese leading ladies of all time. Mishima isn't much of an actor, but just seeing this Nobel Prize level writer playing a tough talking gangster is enough. The film ends with a bravura sequence -- one of the most famous in Japanese cinema -- of Mishima stabbed by a hit man from a rival gang, dying on the up escalator of a Japanese department store during the Christmas rush. This is one I have been waiting for years to catch up with, and when it surfaced at San Sebastian in September, I was not disappointed. Another rare screen appearance by Mishima was in the masterful police thriller "Black Lizard" by Kinji Fukasaku, 1968 opposite Miwa Akihiro, Japan's leading Drag Queen entertainer and said to have been his main love interest off screen at the time. Half a dozen Mishima novels have been made into successful films and he has himself been the subject of various films, notably Paul Schrader's "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters", 1985.
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