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
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #90. See more »
In the last scene, spotlight falls on a cup of tea which lies on a floor, farther from other cutlery set items, but in the scene before, the cup was lying right next to a wooden tea tray. See more »
A 163 minute version is now available on Region 1 DVD as a part of the Criterion Collection. The (Region 2) Masters of Cinema DVD is the first video release to contain the full 183 minutes of the original Japanese cut of the film. See more »
Four supernatural tales--all gorgeously filmed. "The Black Hair" is about a man who foolishly leaves his loving wife for a rich wife. He tries to return to her years later--but is it too late? "Woman of the Snow" (easily the scariest) involves a beautiful "vampire" woman who sucks the blood out of men caught in the snow. "Hoichi, the Earless" is the longest, most elaborate and dullest tale. Neat bloody ending though. "In a Cup of Tea" is very short and OK. The film is too long (165 min) and it is very slow at times (especially the "Hoichi" tale), and isn't really scary (except for the "Woman" one)...but it looks absolutely stunning. There's very little dialogue...the visuals tell the story. Quite simply, this contains the most incredible, beautiful wide-screen photography I've ever seen. That's the reason to see it. As for horror...well, there's very little blood, no gore, minimal violence, no sex, no nudity and predictable endings...this is an example of "quiet" horror. Still, worth watching--see it letter-boxed...DO NOT see it pan and scan!
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