Adapted from classic ghost stories written in the early 19th century by Lafcadio Hearn (also known as Koizumi Yakumo), the anthology film Kwaidan features four of the author’s best-loved Japanese supernatural folk tales.
Photographed entirely on breathtaking hand-painted sets, the film is a ravishing feast of hair-raising spectacles. Japanese cinematographer Yoshio Miyajima's magnificent cinematography was matched by a superb sound design that's unexpectedly way ahead of its time. In Black Hair, when the protagonist, a samurai who has deserted his loyal wife who is a weaver for the daughter of a family with better means reminiscences about his love, the screen shows only his withered face and the sounds of a loom weaving.
During most of the film, an absolute silence shrouds the scenes in a disquieting air that leaves you both enraptured and vulnerable. Compared to the movies today where every scene carries a musical prompt to tell you what to feel, Kwaidan has barely any. And yet, that is how it keeps you on its toes, from story to story, ghost to ghost, in its airtight bubble.