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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.

Director:

Paul Schrader

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses), while the fourth depicts the actual events of the 25th Nov. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

20 September 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mishima See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,378, 15 September 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$437,547

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$518,842
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 director Paul Schrader that were cut out from the original 1985 release. These scenes were added by Schrader to the Criterion DVD release: "We did quite a bit of work on it - [cinematographer] John Bailey and I worked a week redoing the D.I. [Digital Intermediate] and balancing the color. We did great work to the soundtrack. We added a short little scene that I had cut out featuring Chishû Ryû, the Ozu [Yasujirô 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 [the segment] "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

References Patriotism (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Magnificent
21 February 2003 | by BaroqueSee all my reviews

A story told in four chapters and in three levels. Flashbacks of Yukio Mishima's life, dramatizations of his written works, and the events of his final day of life.

If Mishima was a fictional character, I doubt if anyone would believe or accept such a creation. But he was a real, flesh and blood, human being, which makes the film all the more incredible. Granted that some of the facts have been dramatized or "enhanced" for the screen, but the story is quite factual.

A man of many contrasts: A devoted family man who kept a gay lover. A writer who saw his words being "not enough". A patriotic man at home in the present who yearned for a return to Imperial Japan's past glory. A man who struggled to unite movement with action, and saw everything he strove for fall apart at the most critical moment.

The film is lovingly made, magnificently acted, painstakingly edited and the musical soundtrack by Philip Glass will stay with you for days. The film's tight budget doesn't show at all.

Now available on DVD, this film is a worthy addition to the collections of true cinemaphiles.

My rating: 10/10


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