March 22nd, 2021

Kwaidan

I'd had my fill of erotic French fantasy so I thought I'd go with some Japanese ghost stories.

I saw Kobayashi's Kwaidan at university. I did some totting up and realised this was fifty years ago, but it's not a film you forget. It's slow, contemplative, sad- a meditation on "old, unhappy, far-off things, and battles long ago." I think I liked it better on this second viewing. At twenty I was into quick thrills- which isn't what Kwaidan has to offer- and at seventy I'm no longer looking for quick thrills but am very much into otherworldliness.

Kwaidan is based on the writings of Lafcadio Hearn, a Graeco-Irish journalist who made his reputation in the States, married into a samurai family and became a Japanese citizen. I was reading his wikipedia entry this morning. It was quite a life....