Monday, June 30, 2008

Patriotism (Criterion)
Author Yukio Mishima made his only film, a half-hour short based on his own short story, "Patriotism," about the double suicide of a young officer and his wife, in 1966. Shot in austere black-and-white, punctuated with long chapter intertitles (which Criterion gives in both Japanese and English), and structured to Wagner's ecstatic "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde, Mishima's film is a haunting meditation on courage, honor and duty, shot through with an unambiguous belief in the interrelationship of sex and death. That Mishima himself committed suicide by also committing seppuku (or hara-kiri) is another underlining fascination of this one-of-a-kind film.
45-minute retrospective featurette on the film's making; Mishima interview excerpts; audio of Mishima speech.

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