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The Face of Another (1966)
"Tanin no kao" (original title)

 -  Drama | Sci-Fi  -  9 June 1967 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 3,348 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 36 critic

A businessman with a disfigured face obtains a lifelike mask from his doctor, but the mask starts altering his personality.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mr. Okuyama
Mikijirô Hira ...
Psychiatrist
...
Nurse
Miki Irie ...
Girl with Scar
...
The Boss
Minoru Chiaki ...
Apartment Superintendent
Hideo Kanze ...
Male Patient
Kunie Tanaka ...
Patient at Mental Hospital
Etsuko Ichihara ...
Yo-Yo Girl
Eiko Muramatsu ...
Secretary
Yoshie Minami ...
Old Lady
Hisashi Igawa ...
Man with Mole
Kakuya Saeki ...
Elder Brother of Girl with Scar
Sen Yano ...
Mentally Ill Man A
Bibari Maeda ...
Singer in Bar
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Storyline

A businessman facially scarred in a laboratory fire receives psychotherapy from a psychiatrist, and obtains an amazingly lifelike mask from the doctor. Soon after being fitted for the mask, he seduces his wife and succeeds. But his wife claims she was aware all along who he was and believed that both were just masquerading together as most couples usually do in different ways. Strangely enough, his personality seemingly begins to change after he puts on the mask as if the mask has influenced his personality. His new identity does not enable him to reintegrate into society after all. A subplot is inserted in fragments. A good-natured young woman, the right side of whose face is disfigured, has been hurt by others' inquisitive eyes and insults, and has been shunned by men. She asks her older brother, the only man who understands her pain and solitude, to make love to her, hiding from him the intent of killing herself after then. Written by Prion

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

9 June 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Have a Stranger's Face  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Psychiatrist: You're not the only lonely man. Being free always involves being lonely. Just there is a mask you can peel off and another you can not.
See more »

Connections

References Eyes Without a Face (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by Tôru Takemitsu
Lyrics by Tatsuji Iwabuchi
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User Reviews

 
Teshigahara's paranoia unleashed... Among other things
2 October 2014 | by (Croatia) – See all my reviews

The Face of Another is the final film of what I like to call Teshigahara's Trilogy of Identity, preceded by Pitfall and Woman of the Dunes. The links these films share is that they're collaborations between Teshigahara, novelist Kobo Abe and composer Toru Takemitsu, they're shot in B&W, and they offer interesting takes on one's identity and how its fragility may be manipulated.

The Face of Another's main plot is about a guy wearing a realistic mask to cover up his disfigured face, but the subplot about the girl with one side of her face being scarred is a bit more interesting.

Through interesting camera tricks and use of face close-ups, faceless crowds and characters, Teshigahara explores the personality not only of the main character, but also of the entire nation of Japan which underwent a huge change after WW2. Speaking of that, the war itself seems to be the most prominent of the film's themes, but is never addressed as directly as the theme of personality. Use of Germanic waltzes, German songs, pubs and beer, Hitler's speeches echoing over the facility of mad war veterans, and other motifs, along with nuclear imagery (bright flashes and a huge, colorful sun at the end).

Hiroshi Teshigahara employs some neat camera angles and tricks, and some elements, such as the extensive use of mirrors and reflective surfaces, fit the film tremendously. A lot of shots and situations are repeated throughout the movie, and some sequences are fully surreal and puzzling. As already noted by James Quandt in his video- essay, while the main character's personality gets built, there's a construction site in the background, which is a nice touch.

But yeah, I have some issues with this film, mostly concerning the identity loss idea not brought to its full potential, the boring main character and his confusing motivation, and the subplot, which, albeit interesting, simply felt like it was just shoehorned in without an attempt to follow the same flow as the rest of the movie.

7,5/10


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