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Treasures of the Silent Screen

Tuesday, October 22, 1985
9:45 p.m. Überfall (Accident) and A Page of Madness (Kurutta Ippeiji)
Erno Metzner (Germany, 1929)
Teinosuke Kinugasa (Japan,1926)

(Kurutta Ippeiji)Teinosuke Kinugasa was an artistic pioneer of the Japanese cinema; bythe time his reputation hit international proportions in 1953 with Gateof Hell, however, the early Page of Madness was unknown, and it remainedso until 1971, when Kinugasa found a copy of the film in his gardenshed! The film tells the disturbing story of a seaman who becomes ajanitor in an insane asylum in an attempt to free his wife, who has beenincarcerated there since her attempted suicide. Kinugasa relies entirelyon visual effects to tell his story; there are no intertitles, thoughthe musical score added later was approved and synchronized by Kinugasa.Superimpositions, extreme camera angles and jarring close-ups combinewith strange lighting and shadow effects to tell the hallucinatory talefrom the janitor's point of view. Though the film evidences techniquesof German expressionism and Russian montage, there is some debate as towhether Kinugasa could have seen these foreign films at that time (helater journeyed to Germany and to Russia, where he met Eisenstein).

• Directed and Produced by Teinosuke Kinugasa.Written by Yasunari Kawabata. Photographed by Kohei Sugiyama and EiichiTsuburaya. Art Direction by Chiyo Ozaki. With Masao Inoue, YoshieNakagawa, Ayako Iijima. Music by the Modern Bamboo Flute Ensemble.(1926, 60 mins, Silent with music track, Print from New Line Cinema)