Blu-ray, DVD Release: Kwaidan

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Oct. 20, 2015
Price: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray $39.99
Studio: Criterion


After more than a decade of sober political dramas and social-minded period pieces, the great Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi (The Human Condition) shifted gears dramatically for the 1965 film Kwaidan, a rapturously stylized quartet of ghost stories.

KwaidanC_originalFeaturing colorfully surreal sets and luminous cinematography, these haunting tales of demonic comeuppance and spiritual trials, adapted from writer Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folklore, are existentially frightening and meticulously crafted. This version of Kwaidan is the original three-hour cut, never before released in the United States.

Presented in Japanese with English subtitles, the Criterion DVD and Blu-ray editions contain the following features:

  • New 2K digital restoration of director Masaki Kobayashi’s original cut, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • Audio commentary by film historian Stephen Prince
    • Interview from 1993 with Kobayashi, conducted by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
    • New interview with assistant director Kiyoshi Ogasawara
    • New piece about author Lafcadio Hearn, on whose versions of Japanese folk tales Kwaidanis based
    • Trailers
    • New English subtitle translation
    • An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.