Cinema: Screen Painting

Kwaidan. Beauty and boredom are richly intermixed in this trio of Japanese ghost stories by Director Masaki Kobayashi, whose last exercise in horror was the classic Harakiri. The boredom stems from three supernatural tales by Lafcadio Hearn, each unfolding with the grace of a water lily and at approximately the same pace. The beauty lies in the film's imagery, the delicate, dreamlike balance of sound and light and color in every frame.

Kobayashi begins with the tale of an impoverished samurai who deserts his wife to make his fortune and years later returns, repentant, for a macabre homecoming—in effect, a lopsided nightmare...

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