Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Kwaidan’: Visions of love, poetry, and the spiritual from ancient Japan

By J. Hoberman
Katsuo Nakamura is painted to keep malign spirits at bay in the “Hoichi the Earless” segment of Masaki Kobayashi’s “Kwaidan.” Credit The Criterion Collection
HOLLYWOOD---In movie terms, Japan is the land of total mise-en-scène. Western artists from van Gogh to Chris Marker have been fascinated by the “otherness” of Japan’s seemingly aestheticized way of life — “Kwaidan” (1964) — adapted from the otherworldly Japanese folk tales collected by the 19th-century Greek-Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn, and directed by Masaki Kobayashi, a Japanese director who made his reputation as a muckraking social realist — is in a sense a Japanese reappropriation of Western japonaiserie. [link]