Plays Thursday, February 13 at 7:30 PM at the Michigan! – Special ticket prices apply, gold cards not admitted free.

Cinematographer: Shigeto Miki

This silent film will be accompanied by a live benshi narration!

After their unscrupulous master is arrested, servant girl Osen and penniless young Sokichi must fend for themselves. They live together in Meiji-era Tokyo, and Osen’s love drives her to pay Sokichi’s way through medical school, finally turning to secret streetwalking on his behalf. Told in an elaborate flashback structure, The Downfall of Osen has been singled out as a transitional film that bridges director Kenji Mizoguchi’s early and middle periods, as well as the silent and sound eras.

1935. Drama/Silent. 90 min. NR.

Presented in Japanese with English subtitles

Cinematographer Shigeto Miki was Mizoguchi’s cameraman for all of his 1930s films. Miki started his career in 1916, when he shot his first film at the age of 14! After working for Mizoguchi for years, he was Makino Masahiro’s cameraman for the 40s through 60s.

This silent movie will be accompanied by a live benshi. At the birth of cinema, lecturers always accompanied silent films, but as films became complex enough to tell stories the lecturers disappeared – except in Japan. Silent films in Japan (and its colonies) had both live music and a benshi, who would stand to the left of the screen imitating voices and providing spectacular narration. The live benshi performer will be Kataoka Ichiro, Japan’s premiere benshi. Ichiro was in Ann Arbor for a season of silent Ozu some years ago, and tonight he will narrate Mizoguchi’s classic film.

Part of the Art of the Camera film series sponsored by The University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies

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