KwaidanVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Dir. by Masaki Kobayashi
1965. 161 min. 35 mm. Color.
In Japanese, with English subtitles.
Masaki Kobayashi’s rapturously stylized quartet of ghost stories flawlessly creates supernatural worlds wherein each of its four protagonists grow increasingly distant from the confines of reality. With colorfully surreal sets and luminous cinematography, these haunting tales of demonic comeuppance and spiritual trials are adapted from writer Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folklore. Meticulously crafted and existentially frightening, the supernatural spells of Kwaidan remain timelessly effective.
In Black Hair, a young samurai leaves his loving wife to marry another woman for status, only to realize his mistake and return to his previous life. In The Woman of the Snow, a woodcutter is spared his life after making a pledging of silence to a mysterious woman. Consequences follow when he breaks his promise. Hoichi, the Earless is the story of a blind biwa (Japanese four-string instrument) player who is invited to perform an evening concert to aristocrats. When he is discovered to be playing in front of ghosts, Buddhist priests write holy texts on his body to protect him from evil spirits. In A Cup of Tea, a samurai sees a strange man in his tea cup, but drinks his tea anyway. The following day, the man from the cup pays him a visit.
Print courtesy of Janus Films.
Part of the series Of Ghosts, Samurai and War: A Series of Classic Japanese Film, held in conjunction with the exhibition Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan, on view at Asia Society Museum from February 9 to May 8, 2016.
725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021