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Kaidan

Film is visually and physically stunning but its three tales [from stories by Lafcadio Hearn] of the supernatural are more intellectual than visceral.

Film is visually and physically stunning but its three tales [from stories by Lafcadio Hearn] of the supernatural are more intellectual than visceral.

First story [Kurokami/The Black Hair] has a poor samurai leaving his wife to join a ruling clan and to marry again to a rich woman. But his love stays with his first wife and her image haunts him constantly.

Second tale [Miminashi Hoichi/Hoichi the Earless] is about a blind monk, taken by a spirit to unfold his story of a famous sea battle to the place where the clan was destroyed. His priest tries to save him by having holy scripture written all over him.

Third [Chawan no naka/In a Cup of Tea] deals with a man who sees a reflection of someone in a cup of tea and drinks it. He has swallowed the man’s soul and is then haunted by him.

Colors are subtle and used for dramatic effect. Production dress is another plus factor, as is the brilliant but sometimes coldly analytical direction of Masaki Kobayashi. Playing has the right stylized flair.

A fourth episode [Yuki onna/Woman of the Snow, positioned second, about a woodcutter and a beautiful woman] was cut for the Cannes festival screening by the director himself on the suggestion pic would be too long. [Version reviewed at Cannes festival ran 125 mins.]

Kaidan

Japan

  • Production: Ninjin Club. Director Masaki Kobayashi; Screenplay Yoko Mizuki; Camera Yoshio Miyajima; Music Toru Takemitsu; Art Director Shigemasa Toda
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1964. Running time: 164 MIN.
  • With: Rentaro Mikuni Michiyo Aratama Keiko Kishi Tatsuya Nakadai Katsuo Nakamura Ganemon Nakamura
  • Music By: