Page of Madness

page-madness

A Page of Madness (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1926) [link]

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. The film is the product of an avant-garde group of artists in Japan known as the Shinkankaku-ha (or School of New Perceptions) who tried to overcome naturalistic representation.

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 shows up 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. The print existing today is missing nearly a third of what was shown in theaters in 1926. 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.

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