Dir. Masaki Kobayashi. 1964, 183 mins. 35mm. With Rentaro Mikuni, Keiko Kishi, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Tatsuya Nakadai. “One of the most meticulously crafted supernatural fantasy films ever made” (David Ehrenstein). A departure into absolute artifice shot almost entirely on studio-constructed sets, Kwaidan consists of four tales, each drawn from the foreigner Lafcadio Hearn’s collection of Japanese ghost stories compiled in the nineteenth century. Nakadai appears in the second segment, “The Woman of the Snow,” as a woodcutter who takes refuge from a snowstorm and awakens to find himself at the mercy of a female ghost, whose icy wrath he only seems to escape. A work of uncanny beauty, it won Kobayashi the Special Jury Prize at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival.
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