Long believed lost, Kinugasa’s Kurutta Ippeiji (A Page of Madness) (1926) is a masterpiece of Japanese silent cinema and truly unlike any other film ever made, using a breathtaking array of avant-garde, expressionist, and surrealist filmmaking techniques to evoke the madness of patients in a mental hospital—their nightmares and hallucinations, but also an inner life of serenity and beauty. The centerpiece of this year’s festival is the world premiere of an original score performed live by the Ensemble N_JP (Japan/United States), under the direction of the award-winning composer and bass clarinetist Gene Coleman and featuring the master shakuhachi player and composer Akikazu Nakamura; the koto player Toshiko Kuto; the cellist Alex Waterman; the contra bassist Evan Lipson; and the conductor Rei Hotoda, an assistant conductor of the Dallas Symphony. Commissioned by the International House Philadelphia, where it will be presented the night before the MoMA performance, and supported by the Japan Foundation, the score also features benshi-style narration (spoken text in Japanese and English). The film’s scenario was co-written by Yasunari Kawabata, the Nobel Prize–winning author of The Izu Dancer and Snow Country. On October 24, Nakamura will present a Missoku (secret breathing) workshop and Shakuhachi master class at Japan Society.
In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The Eighth MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
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