The most modern and challenging Japanese silent film to survive the firebombings of WWII, A Page of Madness throws the viewer into a maelstrom of hallucinations and obsession, and easily stands way out amongst its kabuki and jidai-geki silent contemporaries. A haunted man takes a job as a janitor in an insane asylum where his wife is committed; his fantasies of liberating her blend into the mad, confounding visions of the inmates. Told without intertitles, the narrative takes a back seat to pure visual expression. Director Teinosuke Kinugasa, already a connoisseur of world cinema when this film was made in 1927, synthesizes every available experimental technique known at the time: his use of superimpositions, flashbacks, rapid montage and complex subjective camerawork rival the innovations of Murnau and Gance for sheer audacity. Lost for half a century after its completion and rediscovered in the early '70s by Kinugasa himself in his own garden shed, A Page of Madness is a stunning, singular work. The evening's live musical accompaniment comes from psychedelic soundsmith The Gaslamp Killer.
Added by la-underground on January 5, 2009