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Conversations in Silence 5: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

As you might remember, last year I did a series of silent film events at Haremame, the event space in Daikanyama, in conjunction with the benshi Kataoka Ichiro and the musician Kikuchi Naruyoshi. We called the series “Conversations in Silence,” and I mainly participated by introducing the film and leading the after-film discussion. The first one (which I wrote about here) featured Page of Madness, and the second one centered on Fukujuso (written about here). We three also did an event on Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed, after which I returned to the States. While I was gone, Kataoka-san and Kikuchi-san did a fourth Conversations in Silence on Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, with Iwamoto Kenji, my coeditor on the Nihon sense eiga ronshu

Well, I’m back in Japan and I wanted to let you know that we will do the fifth edition of Conversations in Silence next week, on Monday June 17, 2019. We will be showing The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (using a DVD of a restored version). The three amigos have reunited, with Karaoke performing the benshi, Kikuchi deejaying music, and little ol' me hanging around to provide commentary. The film was quite influential worldwide, particular in Japan, providing one inspiration for A Page of Madness (as I discussed in my book on the film). Tokugawa Musei's narration of Caligari was quite famous, and Kyoko Omori at Hamilton has made available online a portion of a recording of Musei’s benshi narration, taken during a special revival some fourty years later (you can check it out here). So I am dying to see how Kataoka-san does it, and given how Kikuchi-san handled Page of Madness last year, this promises to be another very creative mix of music. 

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