Ghost Stories - Kwaidan (1965)
IMDb Rating 8.0
Front Cover Actor Back Cover
Rentaro Mikuni Husband (Black Hair)
Michiyo Aratama First wife (Black Hair)
Jun Hamamura
Keiko Kishi Yuki the Snow Maiden (The Woman in the Snow)
Tatsuya Nakadai Mi nokichi (The Woman in the Snow)
Kanemon Nakamura Kannai, a Guard (In a Cup of Tea)
Katsuo Nakamura Hoichi (Hoichi the Earless)
Noboru Nakaya
Takashi Shimura
Haruko Sugimara
Misako Watanabe Second Wife (Black Hair)
Tetsuro Tamba Warrior (Hoichi the Earless)
Osamu Takizawa Author/Narrator (In a Cup of Tea)
A masterpiece of filmmaking artifice and mood-setting atmosphere, Kwaidan consists of four ghost stories adapted from the fiction of Greek-born Lafcadio Hearn (a.k.a. Yakumo Koizumi, 1850-1904), who assimilated into Japanese culture so thoroughly that his writings reveal no evidence of Western influence. So it is that these four cinematic interpretations--perhaps more accurately described as tales of spectral visitation--are sublimely Japanese in tone and texture, created entirely in a studio with frequently stunning results. There are painterly images here that remain the most beautiful and haunting in all of Japanese cinema, presented with the purity of silent film, sparsely accompanied by post-synchronized sounds and music (by Toru Takemitsu) that enhance the otherworldly effect of director Masaki Kobayashi's meticulous imagery. When viewed in a receptive frame of mind, Kwaidan can be intensely hypnotic.

Each of the four stories find their protagonists confronted by spirits that compel them to (respectively) make amends for past mistakes, maintain vows of silence, satisfy the yearnings of the undead, or capture phantoms that remain frightfully elusive. As each tale progresses, their supernatural elements grow increasingly intense and distant from the confines of reality. With careful use of glorious color and wide-screen composition, Kwaidan exists in a netherworld that is both real and imagined, its characters never quite sure they can trust what they've seen and heard. Vastly different from the more overt shocks of Western horror, the film casts a supernatural spell that remains timelessly effective. --Jeff Shannon

Movie Details
Genre Foreign; Horror
Director Masaki Kobayashi
Producer Shigeru Wakatsuki
Writer Yoko Mizuki; Lafcadio Hearn; Yôko Mizuki
Studio Criterion
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Audience Rating PG-13
Running Time 161 mins
Movie Release Date 11/22/1965
Color Color
Personal Details
Format DVD
Seen It No
Index 499
Collection Status In Collection
Purchase Date 7/15/2005
Product Details
Edition Criterion Collection
Region Region 1
Screen Ratio Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Layers Single Side, Dual Layer
UPC (Barcode) 037429152027
Chapters 28
Release Date 10/10/2000
Subtitles English
Packaging Keep Case
Audio Tracks JAPANESE: Dolby Digital Mono
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1
Extra Features
Color Widescreen
Template design by DaveC