Friday, September 18, 2015

A Page of Madness

A Page of Madness is a 1926 silent Japanese horror story long lost before being rediscovered in 1971. It doesn't have intertitles, because as I understand it the Japanese practice at the time was to have a professional narrator present as part of the experience. The plot involves a woman living in an asylum whose daughter comes to share the news of her engagement not realizing that her father works as the janitor in the asylum.

via Youtube:

Open Culture says,
While Kinugasa was clearly influenced by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which also visualizes the inner world of the insane, the movie is also reminiscent of the works of French avant-garde filmmakers like Abel Gance, Russian montage masters like Sergei Eisenstein and, in particular, the subjective camerawork of F. W. Murnau in Der Letzte Mann. Kinugasa incorporated all of these influences seamlessly, creating an exhilarating, disturbing and ultimately sad tour de force of filmmaking.
TCM has an article that says, "Neither "pro"- nor "anti"-madness, clearly not traditional but also not purely modern, A Page of Madness stands as a rich and ambiguous film and one that demands to be read as a forceful but ambivalent commentary on the potentials of cinema itself" and
Using superimpositions, rapid and insistent visual patterns, fantasy sequences, and the visual flamboyance of actors impersonating mad people, A Page of Madness builds an atmosphere of astonishing intensity. The film plays on a continual discordance between subjective and objective reality, although the various layers of the narrative can eventually be discerned by the patient viewer.

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