A couple is brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Later on, the narrative follows the lives of their two daughters, both in love with a Parisian thug and leading them to separate ways.
Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories.
A husband picks up a job as a janitor at an insane asylum scheming all the time to be close to and free his wife from the institution where she recently attempted suicide. A score was added when in 1970 the reels were unearthed after they were considered lost for decades. The director approved and subsequently repudiated this version.Written by
Teinosuke Kinugasa had only eight small lights to work with, so he arranged the walls of his small studio, to be painted in a silver color, in order to make them reflect additional illumination. See more »
Reissued in Japan in 1973 with musical score replacing original benshi. See more »
Who knew that Japanese directors made weird films even in the 1920s? A Page of Madness is an expressionistic, surrealist silent film monstrosity from director Teinosuke Kinugasa, who had little to no budget at the time, so his stars had to help paint the sets, push the dolly and make props. They even slept on the set or in the front office because Kinugasa couldn't afford accommodations for them. After being lost for about 50 years, it was re-discovered by Kinugasa in his shed in 1971. However, 20 minutes were missing and the film is now incomplete. At the time of its release, it was screened only in cinemas that specialized in showing foreign films and gained mass popularity.
The movie is co-written by and adapted from a short story by Yasunari Kawabata, the first Japanese man to win a Nobel Prize for literature (in 1968). It's roughly about a man getting a job as a janitor in an asylum hoping to free his imprisoned wife. There are, of course, other characters, but the plot is completely incomprehensible, not only because of the lack of intertitles (Japanese silent films were narrated by actors called benshi), a large amount of unsignalled flashbacks and weird hallucinatory scenes, but also because the movie is kinda distracting in the sense that you never get the chance to quite sink in. Hard to explain.
The soundtrack is quite interesting, sometimes composed solely of mechanical sounds while we watch dissolving images of people, lights and machines. It's a one-of-a-kind film, especially for the time, but it guarantees no emtional attachment whatsoever because it's impossible to deduce what the hell is going on. So, I definitely didn't enjoy it. It's both interesting and boring. Strange, but that sentence best explains it.
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