Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters


Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Review

I'm not familiar with Yukio Mishima's work as a writer, but Paul Schrader obviously is. This intricate portrait of Mishima's life -- intertwened with sequences dramatized from his novels and other works -- is unlike many cinematic biographies you've ever seen. Mishima (Ken Ogata) isn't just a rebel and a bisexual, he's borderline insane and suicidal to boot: His 1970 death by ritual decapitation is apparently what he's best known for today. Mishima lays out the man's life (though fictionalized) in all its glory and horror, and anyone with a passing interest in Japanese literature will be held in thrall by Schrader's work. (It's aided considerably by a haunting Philip Glass score.)

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th September 1985

Distributed by: Criterion Collection


Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew


Producer: , , Mata Yamamoto

Starring: as Yukio Mishima (segment "November 25, 1970"), Gô Rijû as Mishima, age 18-19 (segment "Flashbacks"), Masato Aizawa as Mishima - age 9-14 (segment "Flashbacks"), Masayuki Shionoya as Morita (segment "November 25, 1970"), Hiroshi Mikami as Cadet #1 (segment "November 25, 1970"), Junya Fukuda as Cadet #2 (segment "November 25, 1970"), Shigeto Tachihara as Cadet #3 (segment "November 25, 1970"), Junkichi Orimoto as General Mashita (segment "November 25, 1970"), Yuki Nagahara as Mishima, age 5 (segment "Flashbacks"), Kyuzo Kobayashi as Literary Friend (segment "Flashbacks"), Yuki Kitazume as Dancing Friend (segment "Flashbacks"), Haruko Kato as Grandmother (segment "Flashbacks"), Yasosuke Bando as Mizoguchi (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"), Hisako Manda as Mariko (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"), Naomi Oki as First Girl (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"), Miki Takakura as Second Girl (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"), Imari Tsujikoichi Sato as Madame (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion") (as Imari Tsuji), as Kashiwagi (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"), as Osamu (segment "Kyoko's House"), Reisen Lee as Kiyomi (segment "Kyoko's House"), Setsuko Karasuma as Mitsuko (segment "Kyoko's House"), Tadanori Yokoo as Natsuo (segment "Kyoko's House"), as Takei (segment "Kyoko's House"), Mitsuru Hirata as Thug (segment "Kyoko's House"), Toshiyuki Nagashima as Isao (segment "Runaway Horses"), Hiroshi Katsuno as Lieutenant Hori (segment "Runaway Horses"), Naoya Makoto as Kendo Instructor (segment "Runaway Horses"), Hiroki Ida as Izutsu (segment "Runaway Horses"), Jun Negami as Kurahara (segment "Runaway Horses"), as Interrogator (segment "Runaway Horses"), Toshio Hosokawa as 'Rokumeikan' Producer, Hideo Fukuhara as Military Doctor, Yosuke Mizuno as 'Yukoku' Producer, Eimei Esumi as Ichigaya Aide-de-Camp, Minoru Hodaka as Ichigaya Colonel, Shôichirô Sakata as Isao's Classmate, as American Reporter (as Alan Mark Poul), Ren Ebata as Reporter #1, Yasuhiro Arai as Reporter #2, Fumio Mizushima as Reporter #3, Shinji Miura as Pavilion Acolyte, Yuichi Sato as Student, Sachiko Akagi as Thug's Girl Friend, Tsutomu Harada as Romeo, Mami Okamoto as Juliet, Atsushi Takayama as Interrogation Policeman, Kimiko Ito as Grandmother's Nurse, Kojiro Oka as First MP, Tatsuya Hiragaki as Actor #1, Shinichi Nosaka as Policeman, Sachiko Hidari as Osamu's Mother, as Narrator (voice), as A monk (uncredited), Naoko Ôtani as Mother (segment