Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)




Critic Consensus: Paul Schrader's directorial masterpiece is a classy and imaginative portrait enriched by a stunning score and impressive cinematography.

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Photos

Movie Info

The fragments of an autobiography by the self-destructive Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Criterion Collection

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Ken Ogata
as Yukio Mishima
Hiroshi Mikami
as Cadet No. 1
Junya Fukuda
as Cadet No. 2
Shigeto Tachihara
as Cadet No. 3
Junkichi Orimoto
as Gen. Mashita
Naoko Otani
as Mother
Minoru Hodaka
as Ichigaya Colonel
Masato Aizawa
as Mishima, Age 9-14
Gô Rijû
as Mishima age 18-19
Yuki Nagahara
as Mishima Age 5
Kyuzo Kobayashi
as Literary Friend
Yuki Kitazume
as Dancing friend
Yosuke Mizuno
as "Yukoku" Producer
Alan Mark Poul
as American Reporter
Ren Ebata
as Reporter No. 1
Yasuhiro Arai
as Reporter No. 2
Fumio Mizushima
as Reporter No. 3
Yuichi Saito
as Student
Yasosuke Bando
as Mizoguchi
Hisako Manda
as Mariko
Naomi Oki
as 1st Girl [Temple Of The Golden Pavilion]
Miki Takakura
as 2nd Girl [Temple Of The Golden Pavilion]
Imari Tauji
as Madame
Koichi Sato
as Kashiwagi [Temple Of The Golden Pavilion]
Shinji Miura
as Pavilion Acolyte
Reisen Lee
as Kiyomi
Setsuko Karasuma
as Mitsuko [Kyoko's House]
Yasuaki Kurata
as Takei [Kyoko's House]
Mitsuru Hirata
as Thug [Kyoko's House]
Eimei Ezumi
as Ichigaya Aide-de-Camp
Sachiko Akagi
as Thug's Girl Friend [Kyoko's House]
Sachiko Hidari
as Osamu's Mother [Kyoko's House]
Tsutomu Harada
as Romeo [Kyoko's House]
Mami Okamoto
as Juliet [Kyoko's House]
Toshio Hosokawa
as "Rokumeikan" Producer
Toshiyuki Nagashima
as Isao [Runaway Horses]
Hiroshi Katsuno
as Lieutenant Hori
Hiroki Ida
as Izutsu [Runaway Horses]
Jun Negami
as Kurahara [Runaway Horses]
Ryô Ikebe
as Interrogator [Runaway Horses]
Naoya Makoto
as Kendo Instructor [Runaway Horses]
Kojiro Oka
as 1st MP [Runaway Horses]
Tatsuya Hiragaki
as Actor [Runaway Horses]
Shinichi Nosaka
as Policeman [Runaway Horses]
Atsushi Takayama
as Interrogation Policeman
Roy Scheider
as English Narration
Kazuo Kato
as Grandmother
John Nathan Turner
as Biographer
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Critic Reviews for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

Graced with a throbbing orchestral score from Philip Glass and John Bailey's luminous photography, this is appropriately monumental filmmaking.

Full Review… | July 10, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

It's Mishima's diagrammatic structure that most perfectly suits its subject, defined by his will to harmony.

Full Review… | December 16, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

It's fetishistic, lyrical, narcissistic and, at key moments, borderline berserk. In other words, the movie captures its subject to a tee.

December 10, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

The most unconventional biopic I've ever seen, and one of the best.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Paul Schrader's 1985 biopic necessarily guts his controversial life - but the visual style is superb.

July 10, 2009
London Evening Standard

From Philip Glass's glorious score to John Bailey's rich cinematography, Schrader's movie is never less than ravishing.

Full Review… | July 10, 2009

Audience Reviews for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters


Mishima is difficult to characterize. It is something of a biographical essay about purity, beauty, art, idealism, action, and death. The exploration of themes and the direction of the film give a very 60s feeling to it. Mishima is interesting and I may have rated it higher except for the fact that it is also confusing and I found it difficult to tell who was Mishima versus a character from his fiction since it jumped around in time and I was totally unfamiliar with his biography. As someone who dislikes spoilers, I'd nonetheless recommend that others go ahead and read his biography before watching (and I do recommend the film).

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

Super Reviewer

It's a triumph for Schrader, using a unconventional narrative for exploring the life and work of such an unconventional man works wonderfully. The highly stylized retelling of Mishima's novels are a kind of avant-garde theatre and this is perfect use of a Philip Glass score.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Mishima's life, and all it's contradictions, is perfectly captured by Schrader in a biopic done right. The film embodies all the passions and obsessions of it's subject, with Ogata's performance and a great score this one stands apart from the rest of theconventional, and empty, bios circulating on hollywood. Movies done with such ambition, and precise touch, are even more rare these days.

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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