Sunday, February 14, 2016

Documentary: "The Strange Case of Yukio Mishima."

During the course of a typical year, I'll watch only a handful of movies, perhaps one every other month. Generally speaking, I avoid Hollywood like the plague; American mass market movies rank right up there with mass market beer on the scale of senselessness.

Perhaps an indie film here and there, and some foreign productions.

Conversely, since Thanksgiving, my playlist has included somewhere around 25 documentaries, maybe more, many of them older and yet still vital. In my perfect world, I'd pay a subscription fee to choose among documentaries alone. Until then, there's always YouTube.

When I was a kid, we got Life magazine, and I dimly recall reading the story of Yukio Mishima's ritualistic suicide, accompanied by a black and white photo -- perhaps of the author, though it might have been the aftermath. At any rate, the memory has remained dormant until yesterday, when I stumbled across this documentary.

The Strange Case of Yukio Mishima - 1985 - BBC - Arena - documentary

Japanese culture is a topic of such depth, and my ignorance about it so vast, that any sage pronouncements from me would be superfluous. It's a compelling 55 minutes.

At Wikipedia:

Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫 Mishima Yukio?) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威 Hiraoka Kimitake?, January 14, 1925 – November 25, 1970), a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, and film director. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century; he was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Literature and was poised to win the prize in 1968 although lost the award to his fellow countryman Yasunari Kawabata, presumably because of his radical right-wing activities. His avant-garde work displayed a blending of modern and traditional aesthetics that broke cultural boundaries, with a focus on sexuality, death, and political change. He is also remembered for his ritual suicide by seppuku after a failed coup d'état attempt, known as the "Mishima Incident".

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