PATRIOTISM (Yukio Mishima, Domoto Masaki, 1966)

Japanese author Yukio Mishima directed but one film: based on his own short story, Yûkoku. It involves a couple, military officer Shinji Takeyama (played by Mishima) and his wife, Reiko, who prepare for and commit harakiri following a failed 1936 coup d’état—a real event—in which Takeyama participated, and for which he will be expected to […]

THE PORCELAIN DOLL (Péter Gárdos, 2005)

Based on a trio of stories from Csillagmajor (Star Farm), Ervin Lázár’s collection of related novellas, A Porcelánbaba is a spotty Hungarian film—to my eye at least, it looks videographed—by writer-director Péter Gárdos. Actually, the first segment is powerful; but the second one is lame, and the last is even more diffuse. Each successive rural […]

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (Roberto Rossellini, 1971)

In the time of the Roman Empire’s waning, decadent, self-indulgent days, the Algerian-born Catholic convert Augustine was appointed Bishop of Hippo in Roman North Africa. Seeing his own time, with its widespread poverty, greed and materialism, the Vietnam War, reflected in this fifth-century world, Roberto Rossellini turned his series of present-tense histories to the figure […]