Trivia - Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

Genres: Biography, Drama

Taglines: On November 25, 1970, Japan's greatest author Yukio Mishima commited an act that shocked the literary world...

Director: Paul Schrader

Writers: Paul Schrader, Leonard Schrader, Yukio Mishima

Stars: Ken Ogata, Masayuki Shionoya, Hiroshi Mikami, Junya Fukuda, ...

A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan's celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses), while the fourth depicts 25 November 1970, "The Last Day"...
Mishima's family originally cooperated with the making of this film but when their request that the gay bar scene be removed was denied, they withdrew their help.
Based on the (Mishima's) works : Sun and Steel (1970), Confessions Of A Mask (1948), Runaway Horses (1969), Kyoko's House (1959), The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion (1956).
The painting in the art book is one of six pictures of St. Sebastian by Guido Reni. This particular one was painted circa 1615 and is the Capitoline Museum in Rome.
Mishima's actual words are used as narration, in Japanese by Ken Ogata in the restored version, and in English by Roy Scheider in the original theatrical release.
The unusual visual distortion as Mishima commits Seppuku was accomplished by simultaneously pulling the camera backwards and zooming the camera lens forward.
A substantial amount of the finance was Japanese although, bizarrely, the Toho studio and their partners have persistently denied that they sunk $2 million dollars into the film. Director Paul Schrader : " I moved to Japan and we had a Japanese producer w
Paul Schrader considers this film the best he has ever directed.
The soundtrack varies with the differing chapters of Mishima's life. the (1970) contemporary scenes has strings and percussion

the flashbacks are only strings

and the stylized scenes from his novels have a full orchestra.

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Has never been officially released in Japan even to this day (2005) theatrically or on video because of the controversy over both Yukio Mishima's politics and the film itself. However, it has been shown on television (albiet with the gay bar scene removed
There are two versions of the film, one with English narration by Roy Scheider, the other with Japanese narration by Ken Ogata. The Ogata version also has scenes added by Paul Schrader that were cut out from the original 1985 release. These scenes were ad
Director Paul Schrader claims that a substantial amount of the finance was Japanese but, the Toho studio and their partners have persistently denied this: "We had a Japanese producer who was able to raise half of the budget through his own money and from
The film uses different color palettes to differentiate between the chapters of the film: the (1970) contemporary scenes are shot in subdued colours

the flashbacks are in black-and-white

the "Temple of the Golden Pavilion" chapter is
While the film is mainly a biography of Yukio Mishima (based on his autobiography "Confessions of a Mask"), it incorporates elements from his novels: The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion (1956): a aspirant sets fire to a Buddhist temple because he feels infe
Has never been officially released in Japan even to this day (2005) theatrically or on video because of the controversy over both Yukio Mishima's politics and the film itself. However, it has been shown on television (albiet with the gay bar scene removed) and the U.S. DVD can legally be imported there.
There are two versions of the film, one with English narration by Roy Scheider, the other with Japanese narration by Ken Ogata. The Ogata version also has scenes added by Paul Schrader that were cut out from the original 1985 release. These scenes were added by Schrader to the Criterion DVD release. Paul Schrader : "We did quite a bit of work on it--John Bailey and I worked a week redoing the D.I. and balancing the color. We did great work to the soundtrack. We added a short little scene that I had cut out featuring Chishu Ryu, the Ozu actor, that I always regretted cutting out--we found the original negative and I put that back in. I did some sky replacement at the end of "Runaway Horses" because I wasn't really happy with the shots at the end. We were able to go back and replace the natural sky with an artificial sky. Then we went back to the original digital on Philip Glass' soundtrack and so the sound is much better on the Criterion version. We also put Ken Ogata's narration in, so now it finally has Japanese narration."
The film uses different color palettes to differentiate between the chapters of the film: the (1970) contemporary scenes are shot in subdued colours

the flashbacks are in black-and-white

the "Temple of the Golden Pavilion" chapter is in tones of gold and green

the "Kyoko's House" chapter is in tones of pink and grey

and the "Runaway Horses" chapter is in tones of orange and black.

Director Paul Schrader claims that a substantial amount of the finance was Japanese but, the Toho studio and their partners have persistently denied this: "We had a Japanese producer who was able to raise half of the budget through his own money and from Fuji Television and Toho-Towa. Then, of course, the Japanese financiers tried to pull out at the last minute because of pressure from the widow. There was another drama involving that and the end result was that they gave us the money but claimed that they didn't. To this day, they claim that they did not finance the film."
While the film is mainly a biography of Yukio Mishima (based on his autobiography "Confessions of a Mask"), it incorporates elements from his novels: The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion (1956): a aspirant sets fire to a Buddhist temple because he feels inferior at the sight of its beauty

Kyoko's House (1959): a young man enters into a sadomasochistic relationship with an elder woman

Runaway Horses (1969): a group of young fanatic nationalists fails to overthrow the government.

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.