Amazon has a poll to vote for the next Criterion Collection title to be published in Blu-ray format. The choices are fairly obscure, and I’ve only seen two of them: Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law and the 1965 Japanese film Kwaidan.
Of the two, I found Kwaidan to be more memorable. It contains four ghost stories set in old Japan, filmed with painterly cinematography. I had always assumed they were classic Japanese tales, but I have just read that they were in fact “adapted from the fiction of Greek-born Lafcadio Hearn (a.k.a. Yakumo Koizumi, 1850-1904), who assimilated into Japanese culture so thoroughly that his writings reveal no evidence of Western influence.” There are scenes here that I think may have directly influenced Tarantino’s Kill Bill.1 If you are expecting The Grudge, I think you will be thrilled. Unless you (inexplicably) liked The Grudge.
- I’m thinking of the showdown with O-Ren Ishii in the snowy garden. [↩]