Kwaidan Blu-Ray


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After more than a decade of sober political dramas and socially minded period pieces, the great Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi shifted gears dramatically for this rapturously stylized quartet of ghost stories. Featuring colorfully surreal sets and luminous cinematography, these haunting tales of demonic comeuppance and spiritual trials, adapted from writer Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folklore, are existentially frightening and meticulously crafted. This version of Kwaidan is the original three-hour cut, never before released in the United States.

New 2K digital restoration of director Masaki Kobayashi’s original cut, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New audio commentary by film historian Stephen Prince
Interview with Kobayashi from 1993, conducted by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
New interview with assistant director Kiyoshi Ogasawara
New piece about author Lafcadio Hearn, on whose versions of Japanese folktales Kwaidan is based
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien