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Kurutta ippêji (1926)

A man takes a job at an asylum with hopes of freeing his imprisoned wife.

Director:

Teinosuke Kinugasa

Writers:

Yasunari Kawabata (short story), Yasunari Kawabata (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Masuo Inoue Masuo Inoue ... Servant
Ayako Iijima Ayako Iijima ... Servant's Daughter
Yoshie Nakagawa Yoshie Nakagawa ... Servant's Wife
Hiroshi Nemoto Hiroshi Nemoto ... Young Man
Misao Seki Misao Seki ... Doctor
Minoru Takase Minoru Takase ... Crazy Man A
Eiko Minami Eiko Minami ... Dancer
Kyosuke Takamatsu Kyosuke Takamatsu ... Crazy Man B
Tetsu Tsuboi Tetsu Tsuboi ... Crazy Man C
Shintarô Takiguchi Shintarô Takiguchi ... Boy
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Storyline

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 aghaemi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

January 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Forgotten Pages See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1975 sound) | (2007 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Teinosuke Kinugasa had so little money to make this film, that his stars - some of them rather big names - had to help paint sets, push the dolly and make props. He had only eight small lights to work with, so he painted the walls of his small studio silver to make them reflect additional illumination. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nihon eiga no hyaku nen (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Should be viewed by any film enthusiast
25 September 2012 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

Very few Japanese films exist from the silent period. In fact, statistics show that only 1% of around 7,000 productions are represented in the a catalogue of the silent cycle. Director Teinosuke Kinugasa's Kurutta Ippeji (also known as A Page of Madness) was thought lost (and perhaps forgotten) until he himself discovered a print in a warehouse in 1971. He diligently produced a new music soundtrack and re-released it. This is the first example of a silent film from Japan, and have to say that the world should be thankful that Kinugasa discovered this avant- garde little master work.

The film was produced with an avant garde group of artists, known as Shinkankak-ha (School of New Perceptions), an experimental art movement that rejected naturalism, or realism, and was highly influenced by European art movements such as Expressionism, Dada, and Cubism, and evidently uses the techniques found in Soviet Montage, particularly Sergei Eisenstein - fundamentally, as this project deals with madness, it would be easy to draw parallels with Robert Weine's seminal horror film Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920). What the art trope bring to this extreme nightmare are those exaggerated, pointed and alarmist movements like the expressionist acting styles being used in European film and stage work - but happens to find its own stylistic flourishes, and colloquial "voice" (for want of a better word).

Kurutta ippeji's simplistic story focuses on a man (Masuo Inoue) whom has taken a job as a janitor in an asylum, so that he may be close to his wife (Yoshie Nakagawa), who has been condemned. His aim is to aid in her escape from the dogmatic institution. However, when the break-out is orchestrated, her madness has enveloped her, and she is unwilling to leave with her husband. The couples daughter (Ayako Iijima) visits the asylum to advise her mother of her engagement, which leads to a maelstrom of fantastically abstract flashbacks, giving light to the reasons the mother is condemned.

The films style is so incredibly complex and technically brilliant. In the opening sequence, the jarring compositions (both beautiful and haunting), superimposition's, and quick montage editing, creates an assault on the senses that is difficult to break away from - torrential rain falls the scenery in shots of the asylum, expressionist compositions of wind-battered tree branches clashing with windows, and the sight of a woman riddled in madness. The use of superimposition becomes greater as the film moves into crescendo, and these layers portray climatically the merger of madness and modernity. Do we witness the ghosts that haunt the corridors of the asylum? Or are these the devastating spectre's of modernity, and the destruction of tradition? An ironic speculation perhaps, considering the mechanics of cinema production and exhibition.

To a modern audience, silent cinema is often a difficult watch. This film is of particular note for this argument. Kurutta ippeji has no title cards describing dialogue, or internal action, which makes it difficult to follow at times. But as with all 1920's Japanese cinema, the films were always accompanied by narration - a storyteller known colloquially as a benshi. But this small infraction does not hamper an incredibly dazzling piece of early experimental cinema, and one that should be viewed by any film enthusiast, at least for posterity - if not for a formative education on the stylistic diversity of film as art.

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