ICJS Event: Japanese Cinema Eclectics - Curated by Donald Richie

A Multi-part Series Devoted to Unexplored Tangents of the Japanese Film

Film: A Page Out Of Order (Kurutta Ippeiji)

Thursday, June 8, 2006
7:00 p.m. (start at 8:00 p.m.)
Super Deluxe(Access)
Open to general public.
1,500 yen (valid for one day/one screening)
Introduction by Donald Richie in English Film Screening
Registration closed

About the Film: A Page Out Of Order (Kurutta Ippeiji)

Written by Yasunari Kawabata
Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa

A Page Out Of Order In 1926 Japan was hearing about European avant-garde films and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (Robert Weine, 1919) had played Tokyo. Kawabata had seen it, though Kinugasa had not, but both agreed that, like it, an insane asylum was a properly expressionist setting. A baby drowns, the mother goes insane and the father moves in to take care of her - all of this to be shown through the perceptions of the inmates.

Visually (photography by Kohei Sukigayama who later won prizes for this camera work on Kinugasa's The Gate of Hell) the film is very expressionist - shadows, rain, urban menace - but in place of the sober pace of the German model, it is also a mosaic of small scenes, the patterns of which must be inferred by the viewer.

There was no Japanese precedent for such fast cutting and the film must have exhausted its local audience though it only lasts an hour. In any event, it disappeared after a few showings and then in 1971 Kinugasa discovered the negative in the studio storeroom. It was re-released, a sound track was added, and it became one of the most curious of all modernist artifacts. We all live in asylum, for that is what the world is (the message of Caligari), but in this film we have to endure the full experience of being inside the anecdote.

About the "Japanese Cinema Eclectics"

This monthly series will feature relatively unknown but important Japanese avant garde films selected by Donald Richie, the former Curator of Film at the New York Museum of Modern Art in New York (1969-1973), and a renowned authority on Japanese film.

Donald Richie came to Japan in 1947 as feature writer for the Pacific Stars and Stripes. After the end of the Occupation, he became film critic for The Japan Times and still continues with that paper as Arts Critic. During the following years he wrote a number of books, including The Films of Akira Kurosawa (1965); Ozu (1974), and One Hundred Years of Japanese Film (2002). In addition, he has written over forty books about the country in which he has been resident for nearly sixty years. These include: The Inland Sea (1971), Japanese Portraits (1991), and his latest work, The Japan Journals: 1947-2004. From 1968 to 1973 he was Curator of Film at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Named by TIME magazine," the dean of Japan's arts critics," he is regarded as the preeminent authority on Japanese film. Susan Sontag has said of him "Donald Richie writes about Japan with an unrivaled range, acuity, and wit."

About ICJS

The Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies (ICJS) is an organization dedicated to fostering study and research on various topics related to contemporary Japan and Asia.

Japanese Cinema Eclectics
Film Schedule

June 8 A Page Out Of Order (Kurutta Ippeiji) / (AKA A Crazy Page)
June 12Focus
Aug. 4 Naked Island, directed by Shindo Kaneto - A Silent Film with Music
Sep. 13Stirrings from the Underground
Aug. 4 Naked Island, directed by Shindo Kaneto - A Silent Film with Music
Sep. 13 Stirrings from the Underground
Oct. 4 Patriotism (Yukoku)
Nov. 15 Donald Richie-A Film Anthology