Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Review

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The biography of twentieth century Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima. The film, in four parts, weaves the life of the author with segments of three of his best-known works, leading up to his death in 1970.


A daringly original biopic, which flashes back from the famous novelist-movie star-traditionalist-gay bizarro's suicidal assault on a Japanese army camp. Between minimal black-and-white episodes of Mishima's earlier life and colourful dramatisations of scenes from three of his novels, this attempts to come to grips with the public and private faces of a real-life character, and finally reflects more upon the neuroses and drives of its creator than its subject. Schrader's obsessive-puritanical philosophising is at its purest here, as he channels his usual concerns into a meditation on Mishima's tussles with love, death, honour and the spirit.

An exceptional, original movie, ravishingly shot and with a hauntingly brilliant Philip Glass score.