Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week

Posted By , and on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 9:00 AM

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page of madness 1926 teinosuke kinugasa
Page of Madness (1926)
Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa
“The aesthetics of shadow” was a term coined in relation to Japanese architecture, whose design gave room for magic and mystery to grow; in time it also came to refer to a branch of early Japanese cinema, whose shadows were crafted with contemporary German and American influences but created their own hidden lives. Kinugasa’s 35th film as a director and his first independent production, made silently and without intertitles, overruns with such shades. Page begins with a storm bombarding a mental asylum, where an aging janitor (played by Masuo Inoue) works near the cell of his convulsively dancing wife (Yoshie Nakagawa), who has been locked up ever since she drowned one of the couple’s children years prior. Their adult daughter (Ayako Iijima) comes to visit at a time in which reality dissolves and other inmates break loose. Leering people flood hallways in stretched, distorted images while the old man struggles to escape a darkness that might devour them all. Kinugasa’s great, similarly compassionate period melodrama Crossroads (1928) will also screen at MoMA; both it and Page of Madness will be shown on 35mm with live musical accompaniment. Aaron Cutler (Jan 12-13 at MoMA, part of its The Aesthetics of Shadow, Part 1: Japan)

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