Friday, January 27, 2006


Director: Kon Ichikawa
Length: 98 min.
Format: VHS
Date Viewed: 26 January

Ichikawa is without a doubt one of the true masters of Japanese cinema, having the brilliant Tokyo Olympiad and the sumptuous adaptation of The Makioka Sisters as just two examples of his directorial filmography. It is disappointing, then, that his adaptation of Yukio Mishima's The Temple of the Golden Pavillion, here titled Enjo, is such a weak film.

Just like the book, I found it very difficult to get into the story. None of the characters resonate with me, and none are particularly interesting, save Kashiwagi, who is interesting in a perverse way. After a while and finding no access point I cared enough to go through, I found both book and film to be dull and cold. The script of the film is so jumpy and rushed that it's hard to get one's bearings, and all characters, especially the supporting characters, feel woefully underdeveloped. Worse, when Mizoguchi (Raizou Ichikawa) finally gets to his destructive act at the temple, it's not remotely clear why he made the decision to proceed.

The scope cinematography by master cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa is extremely well-framed, and the match-cuts by editor Shigeo Nishida are flawless and seem quite ahead of their time, but both seem wasted on such a poor story and script.


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