1985, 120 mins
Personal Stills
Production Stills

I. BEAUTY On 25 November 1970, the novelist Yukio Mishima prepares to carry out a political provocation at the Japanese army headquarters in Tokyo. A flashback shows him as a frail, sheltered child living with his grandmother. As he grows into adolescence he is sexually aroused by a picture of St. Sebastian and challenges a bully at school. He dreams of dying for the Emperor in the war but lies about his health to avoid conscription. (In Mishima's novel, Temple ofthe Golden Pavilion, a shy stuttering temple acolyte tries to make love to a girl but finds himself rendered powerless by the beauty of the golden pavilion. He finally makes love to a prostitute and loses his stutter but determines to destroy the pavilion by setting fire to it.)

2. ART Mishima drives to the headquarters with his supporters. A flashback shows the beginnings of his career as a writer and his obsession with remaking his own body. He shows olf his physique by posing for photographs, including one as St. Sebastian. (In Mishima's novel, Kyoko's House, a young actor desires to improve himself through body-building. He meets a woman to whom his mother is indebted and she offers to cancel the debt if he will sign his body over to her. The affair becomes intensely sado-masochistic and there are hints of suicide.)

3. ACTION Mishima and his followers approach the headquarters. (In Mishima's novel, Runaway Horses, a young cadet has formed a cell sworn to purge Japan of its modern corruptions by assassinating leading figures. The cell is broken up by police.) A flashback shows Mishima engaging in paramilitary activities with his private army. (The cadet escapes, assassinates a businessman, and prepares to commit seppuku.)

4. HARMONY OF PEN AND SWORD Mishima and his followers tie and gag the Japanese general and then Mishima addresses the assembled troops, exhorting them to return Japan to its old purity. Greeted with jeers, he sets about committing seppuku (in each of the three stories the protagonists reach their destructive or suicidal ends).

Producers: George Lucas, Francis Coppola, Mata Yamamoto, Tom Luddy
Screenplay: Paul Schrader, Leonard Schrader, Chieko Schrader.
Sections based on the novels of Yukio Mishima
Cinematography: John Bailey
Editor: Michael Chandler, Tomoyo Oshima
Production designer: Eiko lshioka

back to films

site design: High Bridge Hill