Yukio Mishima's acclaimed 1956 novel Kinkakuji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) was inspired by an actual incident in 1950 when a disturbed monk burned down one of Kyoto's most beautiful temple buildings. The temple requested that the name be changed to Shukakuji for this adaptation, which opens out the book's internal monologue, structuring the anguished protagonist's progress towards final conflagration through flashbacks as the police piece together their investigation. Raizo Ichikawa's central performance attracts sympathy for this stuttering temple acolyte from a broken family, who sees in the Golden Pavilion a purity of beauty in direct contrast to his own imperfect existence. It's a purity in danger of being defiled, however, as post-war occupation and reconstruction open the site to tourism, so he resolves to destroy pavilion in order to preserve it. Ichikawa's fragmented direction draws together this awful logic, leaving the audience dangling exquisitely between understanding and outright horror as flames obliterate a priceless cultural monument. The director's favourite among his own films.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Natto Wada, Keiji Hasebe|