Japan Speaks! Early Japanese Talkies
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
Includes the following films:
The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine
1931. Japan. Directed by Heinosuke Gosho. Screenplay by Komatsu Kitamura, Akira Fushimi. With Atsushi Watanabe, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Ichimura. A slapstick comedy or nansensu-eiga [nonsense film] that at times approaches the sound-image playfulness of a Disney Silly Symphony, The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine was Japan’s first popular and critically successful talking picture. Inventive by any standard, sound is essential to the plot, which concerns a blocked writer driven to distraction by the Mammy Jazz Band rehearsing next door—not to mention its lively young singer. All films preserved by the National Film Center of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; courtesy Janus Films. In Japanese; English subtitles. 56 min.
1923/1930s. USA/Japan. Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor. With Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, John Aasen. Enormously popular in Japan, Harold Lloyd was in effect naturalized in this condensed version of his 1923 feature Why Worry?, rereleased in the 1930s with a music soundtrack and recorded benshi commentary. This version was confiscated by the American occupying authorities and later repatriated to Japan. Preserved by the National Film Center of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; courtesy Harold Lloyd Entertainment, Inc. In Japanese; English subtitles. 29 min.
1925. Japan. Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. With Shojiro Sawada, Zenichiro Kito, Tadashi Torii. Made by Kinugasa a year before his celebrated A Page of Madness (a highlight of To Save and Project in 2010), Tsukigata Hanpeita is a version of an oft-filmed kabuki play initially exhibited with sound-on-disc benshi narration; this extremely concentrated digest was originally released on 9.5mm film and intended for home viewing. Preserved by the National Film Center of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. In Japanese; English subtitles. 13 min.
Program 98 min.
In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The 10th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
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