8.0/10
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The Face of Another (1966)

Tanin no kao (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 9 June 1967 (USA)
A businessman with a disfigured face obtains a lifelike mask from his doctor, but the mask starts altering his personality.

Writers:

Kôbô Abe (screenplay), Kôbô Abe (novel)
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On TV

Airs Mon. Jun. 24, 3:45 AM on TCM

ON DISC
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

9 June 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Have a Stranger's Face See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

During its initial release, the film was generally poorly received by critics in Japan and the United States. It also received an extremely limited release in the United States and remained unseen by American audiences for many decades. Modern film critics have warmed to the film and its merits, and now consider it a major example of the quality of Japanese films from the 1960s. See more »

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

Referenced in Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by Tôru Takemitsu
Lyrics by Tatsuji Iwabuchi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
If we lose our faces and wear that's of the other people, what we will do?
7 April 2019 | by Aoi_kdrSee all my reviews

Aww, interesting! What a great opening scene this film has! All the scenes at the hospital remind me avant-garde movement, they look like an artistic music video. The way the director expressed his vision was ahead of its time.

This movie is about a man who lost his face in an accident. That event starts a domino effect of questions. Will the loss of his face also take the love of his wife and social status away? Or his servile spirit that was distorted by being too paranoid makes him do so? If we lose our faces and wear that's of the other people, what we will do?

My favorite shot is this: during a panoramic scene of a construction site the main protagonist gave a speech about his intention of buying other's man face. I felt that this scene was an allegory of how to buy a new face and put on make-up can reflect how the construction site will change the landscape forever.

The appearance of the face is one of the ways that shows I am me. But if we could wear another's face, we don't have to be responsible for own actions. Because it is not necessary to act as who I was before.

I think the morals of the people and individual personalities can't exist without the acknowledgment that we have unique existence. In other words, the consciousness recognized as its kind of person that can make its personalities and morals. It's like the philosophy behind the 'GHOST IN THE SHELL.'

Though 'women's make-up' the director gives us an example of masks in this movie, I think we can also refer to social media websites now. Exaggerating myself has become the obvious thing to do there. Many people release information of own their private lives easily like movie stars. Anyone can wear masks as they want and act as their ideal self. Which is the true self, the "polished stone" or just one as it is?

Why are women wear makeup? Because of the assertiveness that women don't have enough natural face to show off to the others. It's just humbleness, not to trick men.

I was surprised to hear an opinion like in this. In my opinion, the main reason women wear makeup as equipment to survive through modern society. Although my first thought was that I wear makeup because I don't want anyone to underestimate my abilities, maybe I have an element of humbleness. When I go to work with my lighter makeup, everyone worried that I was very tired. So I can't show my boss and co-workers my natural face.


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