Saturday, October 04, 2008

Masaki Kobayashi

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1996 of Japanese film director Masaki Kobayashi. There is a Facebook page for him.

By Japanese standards, Kobayashi made few films, working slowly and painstakingly with careful attention to detail.
an increasing concern with formal beauty characterized his work, most notably in Kaidan. This film, based on four of Lafcadio Hearn's ghost stories, carried for once no social message, but developed a strikingly original use of color and exquisitely stylized visual composition.

Kwaidan is a series of four ghost stories based on stories by Lafcadio Hearn which can be read online. The first film is based on a story called The Reconciliation, the second is from a story about a snow woman, the third is based on The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi, and the fourth is based on "In a Cup of Tea". You can watch it online at Youtube for $3, or in two parts at Internet Archive.


1000 Misspent Hours has a review which describes the plots of each story in some detail. The New York Times review of the first 3 sections from the time calls it "a symphony of color and sound that is truly past compare." Ferdy on Film has a post (4/21/2009).

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