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A Page of Madness Film Poster

A Page of Madness (狂った一頁 Kurutta Ippēji or Kurutta Ichipeiji) is a silent film by Japanese film director Teinosuke Kinugasa, made in 1926. It was lost for forty-five years until being rediscovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971.[1] The film is the product of an avant-garde group of artists in Japan known as the Shinkankakuha (or School of New Perceptions) who tried to overcome naturalistic representation.[1] [2]

Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, was credited on the film with the original story. He is often cited as the film's screenwriter, and a version of the scenario is printed in his complete works, but the scenario is now considered a collaboration between Kawabata, Kinugasa, Banko Sawada, and Minoru Inuzuka.[1]

Plot

A Page of Madness Still

The film takes place in an asylum. Although cut together in an ever maddening maelstrom, the film loosely tells the story of the janitor of the asylum. His wife is one of the patients. One day their daughter arrives at the asylum to tell her mother about her engagement. This sets off a number of subplots and flashbacks which stitch together the family history (for instance, why the mother is a patient and why the daughter is unaware of her father's job as a janitor).

The film does not contain intertitles, making it difficult to follow. Showings in 1920s Japan would have included live narration by a storyteller or benshi (弁士) as well as musical accompaniment. The famous benshi Musei Tokugawa narrated the film at the Musashinokan theater in Shinjuku in Tokyo.[1] The print existing today is missing nearly a third of what was shown in theaters in 1926.

Cast

  • Masao Inoue as the custodian
  • Ayako Iijima as the custodian's daughter
  • Yoshie Nakagawa as the custodian's wife
  • Hiroshi Nemoto as the fiancé
  • Misao Seki as the chief doctor
  • Minoru Takase as patient A
  • Eiko Minami as the dancer
  • Kyosuke Takamatsu as patient B
  • Tetsu Tsuboi as patient C
  • Shintarō Takiguchi as the gateman's son

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Gerow, Aaron (2008). A Page of Madness: Cinema and Modernity in 1920s Japan. Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan. ISBN 978-1-929280-51-3.
  2. Gardner, William O. (Spring 2004). "New Perceptions: Kinugasa Teinosuke's Films and Japanese Modernism." Cinema Journal 43 (3): 59-78. doi: 10.1353/cj.2004.0017

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