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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

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1:24 | Trailer
A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.

Director:

Paul Schrader
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata ... Yukio Mishima (segment "November 25, 1970") / Narrator
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 ... Mother (segment "Flashbacks")
Gô Rijû 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 Kyûzô Kobayashi ... Literary Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Yuki Kitazume Yuki Kitazume ... Dancing Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Haruko Katô ... Grandmother (segment "Flashbacks")
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

Plot Keywords:

gay | homosexual | japan | writer | author | See All (283) »

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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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

The word "country" written in Japanese kanji on the hachimaki is the simplified character. On the actual hachimakis, the kanji for "country" was the long traditional form. See more »

Quotes

Osamu: You have to promise not to kiss me... until after I'm dead.
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 »

Alternate Versions

Criterion's DVD (and the newly struck 35mm print of the film) add a brief deleted scene, from the "Temple of the Golden Pavilion" segment in which Mizoguchi talks to an old teacher, back into the main film. There are also changes to the shots leading up to the sunrise and seppuku in the "Runaway Horses" segment, in which the previously real sky is replaced by a deliberately artificial-looking matte painting. These changes are carried over to the Blu-Ray and 4K DCP release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Truman Show (1998) See more »

User Reviews

 
Highly stylized, rewarding film for thoughtful viewers.
12 January 2007 | by ags123See all my reviews

It has taken several viewings for me to fully appreciate this film. Initially, I was struck by the stylized sets, but found the rest slow going and dull. I thought that such a sensational subject needed the Ken Russell treatment to take it way over the top. I now find the enforced restraint (placed on the production by Mishima's widow) to be an asset. Some of the more lurid aspects of Mishima's life are reiterated and dramatized by corresponding themes from his novels. I think it helps to be familiar with the novels - that's what finally made the difference for me. Still feel the film overall could be a little tighter and warmer, but it's genuinely unique, and deserves serious attention. Love the fact that the Japanese characters speak Japanese - not English. The Philip Glass score is mesmerizing.


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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)

Gross USA:

$437,547

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$569,996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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