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Mishima: Una Vida En Cuatro Capítulos - Edición Especial Coleccionista [Blu-ray]
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"Mishima: Una vida en Cuatro Capítulos" es un sensacional retrato-mosaico del consagrado autor y dramaturgo japonés Yukio Mishima. La película investiga la inquietud interior y las contradicciones de un hombre que trató de alcanzar una imposible armonía entre sí mismo, el arte y la sociedad. Esta obra maestra se sitúa en el último día de Mishima, cuando cometió un célebre seppuku en público el 25 de noviembre de 1970, en el Cuartel General del Ejército, que conmocionó al mundo.
Poeta, novelista y dramaturgo. Homosexual. Militarista. Ésta es la biografía del famoso escritor japonés Yukio Mishima, contada en cuatro etapas de su vida. Un filme que explora sus ideas, sus obsesiones, sobre un fondo de sexo y de muerte.
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The film, which cost $4.5 million to make, only grossed $500,000. It didn't help at all that it was suppressed in Japan owing to objections by Mishima's widow, who disapproved of a scene in a gay bar (even though Mishima wrote candidly about his own homosexuality) and withdrew support of the film when the director refused to cut the scene.
It isn't surprising that a film like this wouldn't appeal to a wide audience in this country. In spite of four Nobel Prize nominations, Mishima is unknown to most Americans who have heard of Tom Clancy. The soundtrack by Philip Glass is mesmerizing, somewhat reminiscent of another Glass soundtrack for Koyaanisquatsi. The sets designed by Eiko Ishioka are stunning and entirely unlike anything I have seen in films. Most of the dialogue is in Japanese, with excerpts from Mishima's autobiographical works read in translation by the narrator, Roy Scheider (replaced on the DVD version by another narrator, to the dismay of some reviewers).
At this point I have only read Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) and can't evaluate the treatment of the other two books. As far as Temple is concerned, the movie offers scant treatment of the story, which in any case is much too richly detailed to pack into a half hour segment (the novel has received its own dedicated full-length film treatment in Enjo, or The Conflagration directed by Kon Ichikawa of Burmese Harp). We are exposed to Mizoguchi's stuttering, his fumbling sexual initiation, his obsession with the Golden Temple, a fragmentary glimpse of his complex relationship with a fellow deviant, the clubfoot Kasawagi. Absent are the tortured interior monologues, the philosophical torment that surrrounds Mizoguchi's every act and feeling, his twisted interpretation of the zen principles he is learning as a novice at the temple. What is conveyed is the obsessive, perverse character of the protagonist that drives him to commit an unthinkable act.
Kyoko's House (kyoko no ie) has not been translated into English. However, its themes--physical beauty, sadomasochism, and suicide, are threads that run throughout Mishima's literary work (see Confessions of a Mask, for example).
Runaway Horses prefigures Mishima's own later years and his eventual end. Set in the thirties, it tells the story of a student who plots the assassination of government figures who he believes pose a threat to the Emperor. Like Mishima, he commits ritual suicide as a dramatic political/philosophical statement.
These episodes from his novels, in vibrant technicolor, are intercut with scenes from Mishima's life filmed in black and white.
The Director, Paul Schrader, and his producers, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, deserve accolades for having the courage and commitment to art to make a film that is this difficult, though magnificent. Not a likely candidate for commercial success, Mishima is nonetheless a consummate creative triumph, a work of art in its own right.
The life of Mishima, filmed in black and white, reveals many of the themes that continue to haunt both his fiction and his personal interactions. As a child, Mishima is told by his grandmother that he is special, a fragile hot-house plant, and that his family is better than common people. As a pre-adolescent he finds a picture of St. Sebastian pierced with arrows, and says that 'this painting had laid in wait for me for 300 years' and that his 'hand began a spontaneous motion that it had never been taught'. Thus Mishima himself gives us the key to understanding much of his work and life; he becomes obsessed with idealized male beauty and martyrdom. He begins the creative process early and is very prolific. He begins writing every night at midnight for a specified period of time, and maintained this routine throughout his life. He marries and has two children but he also has affairs with men. As he ages he becomes more obsessed with his body and becomes a body builder. He is humiliated beyond description by the Japanese loss of World War II. Eventually he develops a circle of beautiful male followers and forms his own private army.
I have read two of his novels; The Golden Pavillion and Forbidden Colors. I must say his style is different in both. Golden Pavillion is written in a straight-forward style, much like Hemingway. Forbidden Colors is an odd retelling of Charles Dicken's Great Expectations but with a gay Estella seeking revenge against the female sex. The novel has a style much like Balzac in his novel Cousin Bette. Mishima is cognitively original, much like Emily Dickinson, because of his fluid imagination, odd associations of thoughts and images, and the deep desire to hide the repressed and the nasty inner-self from the viewer. You can't ready Mishima or Emily Dickinson without asking: "What deep dark secrets are they hiding?"
Integrated into the film are three very stylized shortened versions of three of his novels that reflection on his consciousness.
The first segment, the Golden Pavillion, deals with a young monk who stutters, finds he can't make love to women because visions of the Golden Pavillion Temple continue to appear in his mind. He eventually burns the 600 year old national landmark temple to the ground. But what is this really about? It is about the repressed homosexual who can not make love to women because the image of the idealized beautiful male continues to haunt his inner desires and visions. To try to destroy those visions is to destroy the self, something precious as an ancient temple.
The second segment deals with a young beautiful male actor who becomes the lover of a female mobster slum lord (lady) to save his mother's coffee shop. Yet when they meet for love-making she slowly slices his beautiful body with razors as she admires his beauty. His first young mistress finds he responds to a mirrow when making love, obsessed with his own beauty. And how would a repressed homosexual deal with a beautiful male character in his novel? By violating that beauty, aiming the act of aggression outward instead of inward. The female mobster is Mishima, worshiping male beauty and wishing to destroy it at the same time. The last vision we see of the young actor is of his bound corpse, sliced and bleeding, yet with the restful face of St. Sebastian in a Renaissance painting.
In the third segment, Running Horses, a group of beautiful young nationalistic young Japanese men plot the death of the democratically elected officials of Japan so the country can return to the ancient religion, culture, and government of Japan. This segment certainly reveals that Japanese Nationalism did not disappear after the Japanese surrender. In fact, these Japanese Nationalists would consider the loss of the war shameful and in the Japanese Sumari tradition, should commit suicide rather than live in shame.
In the third Chapter of the film, we see Mishima on the last day of his life, surrounded by beautiful male soldiers from his private army. In 1970, at the age of 45, he commits ritual suicide as the act of an honorable samarai in response to the loss of the war by his nation. In a wild and almost unbelievable climax, Mishima and his officers kidnap the Minister of the Japanese Army and try to bring about a revolution against the current government, which is very much adjusted to Western influence. The soldiers that are addressed by Mishima are amazed at the destructive and unrealistic pleas of Mishima as were the Japanese college students in an earlier scene.
The musical score by Phillip Glass is complimentary without being competitive.
Mishima remains a puzzle inside an enigma but repressed homosexulity combined with self hatred certainly help explains why he surrounded himself with beautiful pure young men to whom he can impose his obsessed hyper-masculinity and ancient, tragically outdated code of life.
The transfer is remarkable as usual with Criterion, and the extras are overwhelming. Also, the case of the DVD is almost too much with metallic finish, strong colors and fold-out design. Five stars to Criterion for caring about movies and giving us films like this!