Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters is an excellent film about a fascinating personality, the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. It was written and directed by Paul Schrader, who wrote numerous screenplays for Martin Scorcese, most notably Taxi Driver. Last night I watched the his commentary on the Criterion Collection DVD of the film, in which he recounts the incredible technical and political difficulties he had to go through to get the film made (though Schrader did not speak Japanese, it was shot in Japan with Japanese actors, and during filming Mishima’s widow turned against the film and tried to have it killed). In addition, he drops a tantalizing fact: before deciding to make a movie about Mishima, he had been wanting to depict a character who was on a self-directed collision-course with death, and his original idea was a movie about Hank Williams! One can only imagine what Schrader could have done with the old ramblin’ man.
Those interested in Mishima should check out this film, and an interesting essay on his politics, “Mishima- Paleocon as Samurai” by Justin Raimondo.