In Paul Schrader's unusual biopic, Ken Ogata stars as Yukio Mishima, perhaps the most celebrated Japanese novelist of the last five decades. The film begins with Mishima's youth, then moves forward in episodic fashion to his 1970 suicide, symbolically committed at a military site. Originally titled Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, the film is neatly divided into a quartet of acts, and the screenplay does not flinch in its depiction of Mishima's hyperactive sex life. Among the many neat directorial touches is the decision to offer the narrative in black-and-white, while depicting scenes from Mishima's novels in vibrant color. Written off as self-indulgent by those impatient with Schrader's fragmentary technique, Mishima was produced in Japan by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, an offshoot of Coppola's involvement with Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha.