The Written Face

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This portrait of kabuki artist Tamasaburo Bando explores the art of the Onnagata, the male performer who specialises in female parts. Alongside lengthy stage excerpts, where music, movement and dazzling costume changes trace the refined expression of loss and longing, the man himself attests that he's 'never seen the world with the eyes of a woman', while several actresses who've inspired him attest to the longevity of their own careers - Tsutakiyomatsu Asaji, for instance, still singing at 101. Schmid's approach is reverent, if slightly functional, but he comes a cropper when attempting a kabuki-style celluloid drama of his own, and the use of Madame Butterfly is surely a misjudgment. Occasionally captivating none the less.

By: TJ

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Cast and crew

Director: Daniel Schmid
Screenwriter: Daniel Schmid
Cast: Tamasaburo Bando
Han Takehara
Karuko Sugimura
Kazuo Ohno
Yajuro Bando
Kai Shishido