THE ART OF THE BENSHI - NIGHT TWO

Showings

THEATER 1 Wed, Apr 17 6:00 PM
LIMITED TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE

Description

SANJI GOTO—THE JAPANESE ENOCH ARDEN (NARIKIN)
1918, dirs. Harry Williams, Kisaburo Kurihara
Japan, 35 min. 
Silent / Format: Digital 
Billed as the “the first ever Japanese production of its kind,” SANJI GOTO holds a fascinating place in international film history. After training as an actor with Thomas Ince, director Kisaburo “Thomas” Kurihara returned to Japan to make films to export to the US beginning with this slapstick comedy. Iwajiro Nakajima, “the Japanese Charlie Chaplin,” stars as a guileless janitor who journeys to the States on the chance of inheriting a fortune. Sadly, the film survives only as a fragment. Exhibition materials courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan. Performed by Hideyuki Yamashiro. 

 

 

JIRAIYA THE HERO (GÔKETSU JIRAIYA)
1921, dir. Shozo Makino
Japan, 21 min. 
Silent, intertitles in Japanese with English subtitles / Format: Digital
The first star of the Japanese screen, Matsunosuke Onoe plays the title character, a shape-shifting ninja who battles his enemies with an arsenal of magic, which includes transforming himself into a giant toad. Based on a famous folktale, JIRAIYA THE HERO was one of Japan’s earliest “trick films” and survives today as a fragment featuring a series of loosely connected fight scenes. Exhibition materials courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan. Performed by Ichiro Kataoka, Kumiko Omori, and Hideyuki Yamashiro. 

 

 

OUR PET
1924, dir. Herman C. Raymaker
USA, 11 min. 
Silent, intertitles in Japanese with English subtitles / Format: Digital 
Diana Serra Cary, better known by her screen name Baby Peggy, was only 19 months old when director Fred Fishback cast her in a series of comedy shorts in 1921 alongside Brownie the Wonder Dog. By the following year, she was one of the biggest child stars in the world. In OUR PET, discovered at auction in 2016 by master benshi Ichiro Kataoka, Peggy is awakened from sleep by a series of burglars who quickly find themselves in over their heads, Home Alone–style. Performed by Kumiko Omori. 

 

 

A PAGE OF MADNESS (KURUTTA IPPEIJI)
1926, dir. Teinosuke Kinugasa
Japan, 70 min. 
Silent, intertitles in Japanese with English subtitles / Format: Digital 
With a scenario devised by Japanese novelist (and later Nobel Prize winner) Yasunari Kawabata with contributions from other members of the radical literary movement known as Shinkankakuha, director Teinosuke Kinugasa crafted this visionary masterpiece that was thought lost for almost 50 years. Wracked with guilt, believing his wanton cruelty drove his wife insane, a husband becomes a janitor at the asylum where she’s incarcerated so he can care for her. When he comes to fear her illness may prevent their daughter from getting married, he gradually loses his own grip on reality. Replete with fantastical images, super impositions, and rapid montage, the film subverts any sense of narrative coherence even as Kinugasa builds, according to critic Chris Fujiwara, “an atmosphere of astonishing intensity.” Performed by Ichiro Kataoka.