Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

Today's film is Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.  Who is Mishima?  That's what I was wondering when I picked up this movie.  Yukio Mishima is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka.  He was a famous writer, director, actor and bodybuilder.  He had a very full and active life.  I never read any novels he wrote, so I have no opinion of them.  This is my opinion of the film only.

The film is loosely split up into 4 chapters of his life.  It alternates between black and white and color.  The black and white parts are the most accurate and realistic parts, whereas the color parts are more fantasy and are parallel events with the stories in his novels.  The color parts have minimalist sets.  The movie shows nothing about his children and little of his wife, but it does show him visiting gay bars, which he did, but it upset his wife who disapproved of this part of the film.

Mishima didn't go into the army, but was obsessed with restoring power to the Emperor.  He, along with three assistants, held a general hostage while he gave a speech to a group of soldiers.  He had hoped to inspire them to join him on his mission, but instead he just annoyed them.  No one went along with his plan, so he committed seppuku, or ritual suicide.  Some people believed that he knew he would be unsuccessful and just wanted an excuse to do an honorable suicide.  I didn't know what to expect from this film, but it was well done.  I will give it a 7/10.

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