Poetry and style aren’t qualities one ordinarily associates with writer-director Nagisa Oshima, but this dreamlike tale of a beautiful and narcissistic military recruit (Ryuhei Matsuda) in 1865 training to become a samurai warrior, bewitching the men around him, is a triple-distilled example of poetic style. Because the central character is something of an angel of death, this 1999 film isn’t exactly politically correct in its treatment of homosexuality, but it’s debatable whether it can be called homophobic either. Based on two novellas by Ryotaro Shiba, it suggests a tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi, for whom Oshima hadn’t previously shown much reverence; he directed it mainly from a wheelchair due to his 1996 stroke. It includes some of the biggest stars in Japanese cinema, including Takeshi Kitano (impressive in a noncomic role), Tadanobu Asano, and Shinji Takeda, as well as a score by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Probably not for everyone, but almost certainly a masterpiece. In Japanese with subtitles. 100 min.