Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

Every once and awhile, a movie comes along that blows my mind. Mishima is one of those movies that shames me for having not already known of its existence. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, and directed by Paul Shrader in 1985, the movie is shot with breathtaking cinematography and a mix of on-location and highly stylized sets.

The movie is structured with several interwoven styles. Black and white sections retell the rise of the supremely nationalistic Japanese writer and artist Mishima, while "present-day" color sequences follow his final moments. Meanwhile, Mishima's life is interrupted by amazingly beautiful stage recreations of some of his famous novels. This juxtaposition begs the viewer to draw parallels between Mishima's own life and the life of his fictional characters.

This movie a stunning feast for the eyes and Philip Glass's score only adds another layer of mysterious profundity. Find yourself a copy of this Criterion Collection film and savor the awesome, perhaps unmatched, artistic craft on display.