249 Great Directors: Masaki Kobayashi

“In art history I knew it would require many more years of painstaking research for me to make a contribution, and the war made the future too uncertain, but with film, I thought there might be a chance of leaving something behind.”

What Got This Director Here?
: A whole lot of Japan’s best films.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A.

What Did I Watch: Kwaidan.

Where Does He Fit: Since Kwaidan consists of four parts it cannot exactly be called consistent in quality, but every single one of its four tales yields a few indelible images, particularly the first two in the form of the blue woman in the snow and the hair that strangles. This is cinema as the purest form of the seventh art, utilizing all the arts that cannot be combined so easily into the shape of something purer and crazier. Maybe the paints and sculptures are applied inconsistently, but when Kwaidan is on, it’s deadly in its precision and spookiness. The story never ends, and that’s what’s impressive.


Most Valuable Asset: Stoicism in the face of death and horrible social norms.
Most Excited For: Harakiri.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: The serial director Louis Feuillade.


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