AN ACTOR’S REVENGE

“Kon Ichikawa’s 1963 masterpiece, one of the most dazzling and stylistically audacious Japanese films ever made, has to be seen to be believed—though in Japan, interestingly enough, it’s never been regarded as anything but a potboiler…. The hero is a Kabuki female impersonator out to avenge the death of his parents, and the plot proceeds somewhat like a film noir (with revelatory flashbacks), while adroitly mixing onstage and offstage action. To make the campy mixture even weirder, Ichikawa periodically uses contemporary jazz on the sound track. One can easily see here why Disney is one of Ichikawa’s favorite filmmakers, but perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this singular experiment is its demonstration that theater and film are more kissing cousins than distant relations—the more stage bound the film gets, the more cinematic it becomes. If you’ve never seen this, prepare to be stunned.” (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)

1963 Kon Ichikawa 2.35:1 Color dcp 115 min. In Japanese with English subtitles.