In a Nutshell. Mini reviews of movies old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. And often no sleep.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

KWAIDAN [1964]

aka Kaidan

Masaki Kobayashi, director of The Human Condition trilogy, adapts four ancient Japanese folktales for the ghost story anthology Kwaidan.
A segment for each season of the year, (Hoichi the Earless being my favorite) focuses on victims both innocent and deserving of their ghostly punishments.
After a ridiculously poor DVD release, Criterion gave it a proper blu-ray release in 2015 that did wonders for it's striking visuals that are rich in color, texture and framing.  The theatrical sets are beautifully designed with gorgeously painted backdrops that all give it a fable-like aesthetic that  accentuates that campfire-esque storytelling.  The minimal sound design is exquisite particularly with a proper sound system that allows the startling cricks 'n creaks bury itself deep within your head and purposely break the soothing tranquility of it all.  It's not a particularly frightening watch but it's eerie enough to haunt your thoughts with wonder and awe.  

5 unlucky biwa players out of 5

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