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1,632 Ratings

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

Directed by Paul Schrader
Japan, United States, 1985
Drama, Biography, LGBT+


A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima’s life with his novels while the fourth depicts the actual events of the 25th Nov. 1970.

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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Directed by Paul Schrader
A film which should be studied classically in film schools for its style, organisation, use of staged theatre, flashbacks, mixture of black and white with colour, and more. . . . The film has a formal structure that lends the classic beauty of a Japanese play to the depressing and ultimately effete subject matter.
October 11, 2010
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This may be a biopic, but it avoids every cliché of the genre, roaring past boilerplate like courtship and marriage and eschewing psychobabble like the childhood trauma that explains everything… This movie never promises to deliver its subject to us neat, complete, and tidily explained. Instead, it turns a hot, bright light on just one part of his life (his love affair with death) and leaves the rest alone, enigmatic and ultimately unknowable.
July 27, 2010
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Schrader’s Mishima collaborates with Mishima, symphonizing a life conceptualized as a total work of art—the infamous narcissist would approve (though he would’ve preferred to play himself). The author’s last moment is uncritically staged just as Mishima visualized it: as his masterpiece, a moment of complete synchronicity that makes his self-slaughter sublime.
December 17, 2008
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