Special Free Film Screening: The Lovers’ Exile


The classical tradition of Bunraku puppet theatre has rarely been committed to screen prior, or indeed since Canadian director Marty Gross’s seminal film of 1980, which remains to this date the only filmed adaptation of a Bunraku performance. Both a documentary on the art form and a rendering of the famous Bunraku play, Gross’s film captures the beauty of this performance conducted entirely by members of the Bunraku Ensemble of Osaka, widely considered to be the most sophisticated puppet theatre in the world.

The film features the play Meido no hikyaku (The Courier from Hell) by classic Japanese dramatist Monzaemon Chikamatsu. Set in early eighteenth-century Japan, the play tells the story of Chubei, a young delivery boy who falls in love with Umegawa, an indentured prostitute in his hometown of Osaka, and whose attempt to free Umegawa ends in tragedy.

After the film, director Marty Gross will be present to reflect on the film made 34 years ago, and provide an insight of how he approached adapting Bunraku for the screen.

Directed by Marty Gross, 1980, 87 mins, Japanese with English subtitles

Date: 2 July 2014 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, London

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