Page of Madness
One of the most startling and striking silent films from Japan, PAGE OF
MADNESS was rediscovered by director Teinosuke Kinugasa in his
in the early 1970s and made available for re-release. It follows an
elderly man who voluntarily works at odd jobs in a lunatic asylum
where his wife is confined, having drowned her baby son in a fit of
madness many years earlier. He hopes one day to set her free.
"The film is a remarkable work of concentrated emotional power, seeking
understand the nature of insanity while offering a staright narrative
(the wife's story) in flashback," observed The Faber
Companion to Foreign Film.
Relying on its images, the film uses no
inter-titles, displaying breathtaking technical virtuosity: the
every available camera device, in the style of German Expressionism,
was unknown to him at the time. "A masterpiece of imagination and
it has not dated in 70 -odd years," Faber exclaims.
Phillip Johnston's original score for "Page of Madness" was premiered
on July 9th and 10th, 1998, at the The Walter Reade Theater, in Lincoln
Center, NYC. It was commissioned by The Film Society of Lincoln Center
and performed by The
Transparent Quartet. It has subsequently been performed at Duke
University in Durham, NC, at Time & Space, Ltd. in Hudson, New
York, and at M.I.T.'s Killian Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.
Recently, it was performed with a new Australian ensemble, featuring
Lloyd Swanton, bass,
Chris Abrahams, piano, and Daryl Pratt, vibraphone, at the 2008 Sydney
Some thoughts on making
contemporary scores for silent films
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