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Kwaidan: Masters Of Cinema

Released on 29 May 2006

Featuring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tetsuro Tamba & Kunie Tanaka

Format: DVD | Rating: 15 years & over

3.0 out of 5 (2 customer reviews) | Write a review

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Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan features four nightmarish tales adapted from Lafcadio Hearn's classic Japanese ghost stories. This lavish, 'scope production drew extensively on Kobayashi's own training as a student of painting and fine arts.

For the first time in the West, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the complete 183-minute original Japanese cut. Its poetic expression is said to be unmatched in all of Japanese cinema; breathtakingly photographed on handpainted sets, the film is at once a Japanese miniature writ large, and an abstract wash of luminescent colours that seem to come from another world. An electronic soundtrack by avant-garde composer Toru Takemitsu plays hauntingly with the natural sounds - crickets, rain, the cracking of wood, the loud silence of snow. Yet the stories - four of Hearn's best known ghostly tales - strangely contradict this plastic splendour in their simple, aching humanity; all are tales of mortals caught by forces beyond their comprehension when the supernatural world intervenes in their lives. One of the most memorable of these is "Hoichi, the Earless", in which a blind young monk is compelled by the ghosts of a famous battle to retell their story, over and over again as they gather every night in an abandoned graveyard.

Starring Tatsuya Nakadai, this complete print of Kwaidan - including 21 minutes of footage never before released to Western audiences - also includes "The Snow Maiden," the most eerily atmospheric of the tales in which a woodcutter marries a woman whose true calling is to wander, enveloped in swirling snowflakes, bringing death to mortals...
  • A new progressive transfer of the complete version of the film for optimum visual quality
  • Original Japanese trailers
  • Illustrated booklet featuring the original ghost stories

customer Reviews

 Average rating (2 reviews)

 Kwaidan.

| | See all farnzy's reviews (164)

Top 10  Reviewer Top 10 DVD Reviewer

There is no doubt that Kobayashi has produced a technical masterpiece; beautifully surreal in the way it hypnotizes the audience with its stunningly realized sets and experimental soundtrack by Takemitsu. The problem is for all its grandeur, for all of its splendor, and for all that makes Kwaidan a modern classic; you really wish you were watching an episode of Monkey.

 A Masterpiece of Asian ghost stories

| | See all Gamebargains99's reviews (58)

This film is incredibly impressive. It has some of the finest, most colourful cinematography ever filmed. It is a movie in four parts, each one telling a new ghost story. Each story has varying levels of intensity and involvement, but my favourite of them is Yuki Onna, which tells of a peasant who falls under the spell of a sorceress, marries a gorgeous woman, and after living with her for many years, discovers an ominous secret about her. It is one of the greatest twists in cinema history - certainly more shocking than the twist of The Sixth Sense movie. It is direction of the highest order, just using fantastic lighting and massive set designs. The director, Masaki Kobayahi, has created a brilliant cinematic masterpiece here. It is essential viewing for any would-be director or lover of superb asian cinema. It is right up there with the best of Kurasawa, without any doubt whatsoever. It is quite hard to believe this was made in the 60s. It has the best use of widescreen and colour ever seen! Buy it if you like movies!

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ActorsTatsuya Nakadai, Tetsuro Tamba, Kunie Tanaka, Kei Sato, Keiko Kishi, Rentaro Mikuni, Katsuo Nakamura, Kenjiro Ishiyama, Noboru Nakaya & Noriko Sengoku
DirectorMasaki Kobayashi
Certificate15 years and over
Year1965
LanguagesJapanese
SubtitlesEnglish
Duration3 hours and 3 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.