Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Conflagration (1958)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Conflagration (1958, Jp.) (aka Enjo)

In Kon Ichikawa's adaptation of Yukio Mishima's 1956 novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, told in non-linear fashion with intercut flashbacks:

  • the story (told in flashback during police interrogation) of young, shy, internally-tortured, tormented Buddhist acolyte-novitiate Goichi Mizoguchi (Raizo Ichikawa) (with a stuttering speech impediment that kept him silent) who was serving at a Kyoto Zen temple, known as Shukaku or the Golden Pavilion (originally owned by Goichi's terminally-ill father)
  • the idealistic, withdrawn, shy, socially-awkward, neurotic and sensitive Goichi's harsh and dysfunctional family, including a psychologically-abusive adulterous mother Aki (Tanie Kitabayashi) whose infidelity with Goichi's uncle led to his father's sudden death, and also contributed to Goichi's fractured personality and mental disintegration
  • the final, desperate catharctic and cleansing climax - the increasingly-mad and disillusioned Goichi's decision (after becoming hopeless in believing that he could ascend to the high priesthood) to commit arson and burn down the corrupted defiled temple - in a conflagration, to rid it of its errant ways due to the chief priest Dosen Tayama's (Ganjiro Nakamura) greedy actions to bring in revenue (the temple had become a tourist attraction), and his taking of a mistress-geisha
  • the end sequence of Goichi's successful suicide before he was to be transported to prison

Buddhist Acolyte-Novitiate Goichi Mizoguchi
(Raizo Ichikawa)

Setting Fire to the Temple

Defiled Kyoto Temple Burned Down


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