'Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters' (1985)

Description: Paul Schrader co-wrote and directed this unconventional biopic of the controversial Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. The movie's biographical scenes are intercut with highly stylized interludes adapted from Mishima's novels. Of special note: The movie ran into trouble with Mishima's widow, who didn't want certain aspects of her husband's life -- such as his homosexuality -- shown on-screen. Glass on "Mishima": "I see you want to talk about some of my favorite movies I've worked on. This was my first studio movie -- Toho in Japan and Warner Bros. It ran into political trouble. It was my first movie -- I knew Paul Schrader. He presented me with an interesting problem. It told three stories at the same time. It was like 'The Hours,' but I solved that problem in a different way. I was given a movie that was on the verge of failing through centrifugal force. The question was how do you keep the film together? I had been working in theater and dance and opera. I knew a lot about collaboration. I understood that the issue was how to pull the movie together. It wasn't a decorative score -- it had to be structural, it had to facilitate the spectator in his ability to understand what the film is about. I was touring in Tokyo while Paul was filming and I went to the set.... It made a big difference."
Everett Collection / Warner Bros.
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