In DVD/Blu-ray by Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Director Masaki Kobayashi may not be as well-known in the West as Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) or Yasujirō Ozu (Tokyo Story) but Eureka Classics’ latest release—Kwaidan—looks set to right that wrong.

Released in 1964, Kobayashi’s ambitious anthology of four Japanese ghost stories were filmed entirely on hand-painted sets. Each stand-alone tale is perfectly crafted, with luminous cinematography, saturated colours, and stylised, performances, that echo the look and feel of traditional Japanese theatre. The effect is often surreal, frequently otherworldly, and always compelling. 

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, Kwaidan is adapted from Lafcadio Hearn’s classic collection of ghost stories about mortals caught up in forces beyond their comprehension when the supernatural world intervenes in their lives. Tales featured include: “The Black Hair”, “The Woman of the Snow”, “Hoichi the Earless”, and “In a Cup of Tea”.

Making its premier on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK, Kwaidan is Eureka’s latest addition to their The Masters of Cinema Series, and produced from a 2K digital restoration. Discs will be in a Limited Edition Set of only 3,000 copies, with a Hardbound Case and an informative 100-page Collector’s Book.

Utterly immersive and seductive, Kwaidan is, put simply, a breathtaking and staggeringly beautiful work of art. Buy one while you can.