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Archive for March 10th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1926 61m) not on DVD

Aka. Kurutta Ippeiji

The inmates have taken over the asylum

p  Teinosuke Kinugasa  d  Teinosuke Kinugasa  w  Yasunari Kawabata  ph  Konei Sugiyama  m  Minoru Muraoka, Toru Kurashima  art  Chiyo Ozaki 

Masao Inoue, Yoshie Nakagawa, Ayako Iijima, Hiroshi Nemoto, Misao Seki, Eiko Minami,

It’s not overstating it too much to say that Teinosuke Kinugasa is rather a forgotten figure in world cinema, not just among the average reader of Total Film, Variety, Premiere or Empire, whose knowledge of world cinema is at the least limited, but to the more eclectic readers of the world’s movie periodicals.  Some film historians could wax lyrical about his Oscar-winner from 1953, Gate of Hell, with its luscious colour cinematography, but that was an overdue return, not the arrival of a new talent.  Kinugasa was rather a figure who predated the more famous, illustrious names of the thirties who followed, and has probably been unjustly slighted.  Still, it could have been a lot worse had the director not found the print of his twenties masterpiece A Page of Madness in a storeroom in the early seventies.  He brushed it up as best he could, added a soundtrack of rhythmic, repetitive noises best summed up as torturous, but in a deliberate way (just think of the drumbeat of the noise accompanying the torrential rain outside in the opening sequence).  It’s not only one of the most imaginative of silent movies, it’s also probably the purest example of cinema ever perpetrated, being as there is not a single title in the film.  Even the credits move, as they are turned over by a barely seen hand, before kicking into the uninterrupted visual assault. (more…)

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