Saturday, October 17, 2020

Polish poster for 1965's "Kwaidan"

Ashar and I watched Kwaidan, Masaki Kobayashi's 1965 anthology film of ghostly Japanese folk tales, this week. The film is a feast of colorful set design, cinematography, lighting (especially the use of theatrical stage lighting) and atmosphere. It comes highly recommended, though you might want to stretch out the three-hour film over two nights, as we did. The breaks between the four tales make for perfect pausing points. 

Shown above is the movie poster that was created for the film's theatrical release in Poland. It's a piece of art unto itself. According to the internet, the poster was designed by Wiktor Gorka, and more of his work can be seen here.

My favorite segment from Kwaidan (though they are all great) is "The Woman of the Snow," which tells a less-violent, but no-less-heartbreaking, version of the Lafcadio Hearn folk tale that I first saw adapted for the screen in 1990's Tales from the Darkside: The Movie. (I am aghast, by the way, that when Kwaidan was first released in the United States, it was cut from 3 hours to 2 hours, and "The Woman of the Snow" segment was removed entirely!)

After watching Kwaidan, Ashar asked about other Japanese horror films, especially folk horror, from that period of filmmaking. We'll definitely watch Ugetsu, might check out Onibaba or Kuroneko, and will be skipping Jigoku, which just seems entirely too grim for 2020. We are also intrigued by the craziness on display in the Hausu trailer, but that's an entirely different genre than the standard ghost tale.

Kwaidan is part of the Halloween Month Film Festival that Ashar and I scheduled for ourselves. We have some classics and chillers ahead in the next two weeks!

1 comment:

  1. Seijin Suzuki's Taishō Roman Trilogy are very unconventional - but effective - Japanese ghost stories made in the 1980s, films about what may not be ghosts and looking at the impact of Western culture on Japan in the 1920s.