Senin, 30 Mei 2011

Mikio Naruse - Tabi yakusha aka Travelling Actors (1940)

Plot: Lovely comedy about two actors who play the front and back legs of a horse and feel their artistry is unappreciated. When the self important barber who funds their show decides to replace them with a real horse, they plan to get even.

One of my personal favorites. The actor who plays the front legs of the horse... sees his role as a serious artform. However, the harder he tries to succeed, the funnier things get for the audience. That's the kind of comedy I wanted to make. Mikio Naruse

Travelling Actors remains Naruse's out-and-out funniest work, a comedy of numerous surface pleasures that unexpectedly deepens in retrospect. In the characters of Hyoroku Ichikawa (Kamatari Fujiwara) and Senpei Nakamura (Kan Yanagiya)—low-level, yet intensely serious traveling theater actors who play, respectively, the front and rear legs of a pantomime horse—Naruse creates a hilariously existential tragicomic duo, a Vladimir and Estragon who have found a Godot that, as narrative circumstances soon dictate, they must defend at any and all costs. Keith Uhlich, 2005 (Slant)

While Story of the Late Chrysanthemums does make available a conservative reading—that the heroine's sacrifice is justified by her lover's aesthetic triumph—Travelling Actors (1940) makes clear its scepticism as regards the militaristic ideology. The context is a once-in-a-lifetime performance in a rural backwater by the distinguished kabuki troupe of Kikugoro VI, but the film's heroes are a pair of Shakespearean clowns who form the pantomime horse in a less exalted local company of players. The gentle comedy is undercut by at least one openly subversive moment as the heroes watch two conscripts going off to war and wonder apprehensively if they'll be next. As late as 1944, the theatrical company in The Way of Drama resist demands from the authorities to stage patriotic dramas, and secure success by continuing to act traditional plays. Nor are these films conventional in style; Travelling Actors displays a lively interest in the creative potential of montage, which is indeed still detectable towards the end of the war in the admittedly mediocre fantasy, This Happy Life (1944). Alexander Jacoby, 2003 (senses of cinema)
 Mikio - Travelling Actors (1940) [VO].avi Mikio - Travelling Actors (1940) [VO].srt

no pass

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