Kaidan aka Kwaidan (1964) Ghost Story
Directed by Masaki Kobayashi
As this is made up of four episodes, Ill list the main actors and comment on each separately.
Starring Rentaro Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama
An outside view of a gray building, weather beaten and generally worse for wear, a slow rhythmic beat starts up as a narrator tells us how the husband who is a Samurai is leaving his wife and home to find a better position. He casts his wife aside and tells her in no uncertain terms that she is to blame for their poor state in life.
The Samurai remarries, not for love but to attain power and position, his new wife is selfish, pompous and callous, she never fails to remind him how beneficial it was to him that they married, eventually after sending her back to her family and fulfilling his obligations he decides to return to his first wife whom he regrets leaving.
Back at his old home everything looks exactly the same, his wife is there as beautiful and loving as ever but something isn't right.............!
A moralistic tale, in life you should get your priorities right, there are things more important than money, power and status, also it is seldom true that "the grass is greener on the other side".
Starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiko Kishi
Father and son (Nokichi) take shelter from a blizzard only for the father to fall foul of a yukionna (Snow ghost or demon) she sucks the life out of him but spares the son making him vow never to tell anyone, the cost of breaking the promise; his life!
A long time later Nokichi meets and marries a beautiful woman, life is happy for the couple and they have several children, but one day as he looks at his wife he is reminded of the events of that night, she asks what's wrong and without thinking he tells her the whole story!
Absolutely stunning artistically, reminiscent of the surreal work of Dali or Kurosawas Dreams, this whole section is done using sets which adds to the theatricality of it and allows for the amazing visuals, again the sound also plays an important part, eerie and creepy, slow and melancholy.
Hoichi the Earless.
Starring Katsuo Nakamura, Takashi Shimura
The longest and most vivid episode,
To be continued. Trev.