Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Cross Cultural Ghost Stories

"Arguably Masaki Kobayashi’s greatest film, Kwaidan was based on four Japanese ghost stories by Anglo-Greek writer Lafcadio Hearn, who lived in Japan from 1891 until his death in 1904. Originally released in the U.S. without the second episode (The Woman of the Snow), the film is presented here in its complete form. Takemitsu is credited on screen with “sound and music,” highlighting the fact that the entire soundtrack consists of electronically manipulated sounds, whether of musical instruments, human voices, or less common contrivances (e.g. the hollow clink of stones used to produce a spine-tingling gust of wind). The composer was allowed an unusually long period of four months to record and edit the score, producing one of the milestones in the history of film music."

Kwaidan = Kaidan (Ninjin Club/Bungei for Toho, 1964). Dir Masaki Kobayashi. Wrt Yoko Mizuki, based on stories by Lafcadio Hearn. With Rentaro Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Keiko Kishi, Tatsuya Nakadai, Mariko Okada, Kazuo Nakamura, Ganemon Nakamura, Noboru Nakaya. (164 min, 35mm)

Sources: Library of Congress www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/pickford/pickford-current.html and Columbia University www.columbia.edu/ cu/ealac/jfm/


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