***/**** Image A Sound A- Extras B-
starring Kazuo Hasegawa, Fujiko Yamamoto, Ayako Wakao, Eiji Funakoshi
screenplay by Natto Wada, based on the novel by Otokichi Mikami, adapted by Daisuke Ito and Teinosuke Kinugasa
directed by Kon Ichikawa
by Bryant Frazer An Actor's Revenge, director Kon Ichikawa's colourful melodrama depicting an elaborate revenge plot by a Japanese onnagata--a kabuki actor trained to play exclusively female roles--begins, appropriately enough, in the Ichimura Theater, where the very first shot illustrates that a panoramic aspect ratio is a perfect match for the wide proscenium. On stage, beefy and androgynous, is Yukinojo (Kazuo Hasegawa), a renowned onnagata appearing in Edo for the first time. This beautiful sequence, defined by Ichikawa's precise, modern Daiescope framing and by the intense reds, pinks, purples, and greens of Yukinojo's costume, is not just kabuki on film. It's simultaneously an expression of character, showing how Yukinojo experiences the rest of the world while in performance, and a declaration of aesthetics, introducing Ichikawa's stylized approach using techniques borrowed from or inspired by theatre.