A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan (Masahiro Shinoda, 1970)

Tatsuya Nakadai in The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan
Naojiro Kataoka: Tatsuya Nakadai
Michitose: Shima Iwashita
Soshun Kochiyama: Tetsuro Tanba
Ushimatsu: Shoichi Ozawa
Moritaya Seizo: Fumio Watanabe
Okuna, Naojiro's Mother: Suisen Ichikawa
Kaneko Ichinojo: Masakane Yonekura
Kanoke-boshi: Jun Hamamura

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Screenplay: Shuji Terayama
Based on a play by Mokuami Kawatake
Cinematography: Kozo Okazaki
Art direction: Shigemasa Toda
Film editing: Yoshi Sugihara
Music: Masaru Sato

I think I was culturally ill-equipped for The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan, a wittily stylized film that presupposes an acquaintance with Japanese history and culture that I don't possess. From my own culture, I bring a knowledge of 18th-century portrayals of London lowlife, such as the pictures of Hogarth and the satire in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Buraikan has echoes for me of those, as well as, in its portrayal of the puritanical reformer's zeal, Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. But for much of the film I felt at sea.

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