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The Written Face

The Written Face Media Reviews THE WRITTEN FACE. Directed by Daniel Schmid. Brooklyn: Icarus Films. 89 minutes. Color. 1995. $440. This is a stunning, if problematic, documentary film centering on the great kabuki female-role specialist (onnagata) Bando Tamasaburö V, now available as a videotape from Icarus Films (32 Court Street, 21st floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; www.frif.com). It contains no narration, makes no attempt to explain its goals, combines arty surrealism with straightforward interview-like comments from its subjects, and provides sequences that are among the most wonderfully evocative in any documentary focusing on traditional Japanese theatre. Whether it can be recommended for classroom use will depend on the students' level of preparation, the teacher's sensitivity and background, and the nature and goals of the class. It is a film that is easy to watch and appreciate, and one that is often puzzlingly, even annoyingly, ambiguous. Schmid focuses on the art of Tamasaburö, forty-five when the film was made, but does not show him in the conventional world of big-city kabuki. Only a specialist would be aware, however, that we are watching performances by Tamasaburö at theYachiyo-za in Yamaga, or the Uchiko-za on the island of Shikoku, out-of-the-way provincial playhouses that Tamasaburö enjoys http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Theatre Journal University of Hawai'I Press

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-2109
Publisher site
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Abstract

Media Reviews THE WRITTEN FACE. Directed by Daniel Schmid. Brooklyn: Icarus Films. 89 minutes. Color. 1995. $440. This is a stunning, if problematic, documentary film centering on the great kabuki female-role specialist (onnagata) Bando Tamasaburö V, now available as a videotape from Icarus Films (32 Court Street, 21st floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; www.frif.com). It contains no narration, makes no attempt to explain its goals, combines arty surrealism with straightforward interview-like comments from its subjects, and provides sequences that are among the most wonderfully evocative in any documentary focusing on traditional Japanese theatre. Whether it can be recommended for classroom use will depend on the students' level of preparation, the teacher's sensitivity and background, and the nature and goals of the class. It is a film that is easy to watch and appreciate, and one that is often puzzlingly, even annoyingly, ambiguous. Schmid focuses on the art of Tamasaburö, forty-five when the film was made, but does not show him in the conventional world of big-city kabuki. Only a specialist would be aware, however, that we are watching performances by Tamasaburö at theYachiyo-za in Yamaga, or the Uchiko-za on the island of Shikoku, out-of-the-way provincial playhouses that Tamasaburö enjoys

Journal

Asian Theatre JournalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2002

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