Kon Ichikawa

An Actor’s Revenge

An Actor’s Revenge

A uniquely prolific and chameleonic figure of world cinema, Kon Ichikawa delivered a burst of stylistic bravado with this intricate tale of betrayal and retribution. Set in the cloistered world of nineteenth-century kabuki theater, the film charts a female impersonator’s attempts to avenge the deaths of his parents, who were driven to insanity and suicide by a trio of corrupt men. Ichikawa takes the conventions of melodrama and turns them on their head, bringing the hero’s fractured psyche to life in boldly experimental widescreen compositions infused with kaleidoscopic color, pop-art influences, and meticulous choreography. Anchored by a magnificently androgynous performance by Kazuo Hasegawa, reprising a role he had played on-screen three decades earlier, An Actor’s Revenge is an eye-popping examination of how the illusions of art intersect with life.

Film Info

  • Kon Ichikawa
  • Japan
  • 1963
  • 113 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.39:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #912

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Rare 1999 Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Kon Ichikawa, conducted by film critic Yuki Mori
  • New interview with critic, filmmaker, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow and a 1955 article by Ichikawa on the beginnings of his work in an anamorphic widescreen format

Cover by Ness Higson

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Rare 1999 Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Kon Ichikawa, conducted by film critic Yuki Mori
  • New interview with critic, filmmaker, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow and a 1955 article by Ichikawa on the beginnings of his work in an anamorphic widescreen format

Cover by Ness Higson

An Actor’s Revenge
Cast
Kazuo Hasegawa
Yukinojo Nakamura/Yamitaro the Thief
Fujiko Yamamoto
Ohatsu
Ayako Wakao
Namiji
Eiji Funakoshi
Heima Kadokura
Naritoshi Hayashi
Mukuzu
Eijiro Yanagi
Hiromi-ya
Chusha Ichikawa
Kikunojo Nakamura
Ganjiro Nakamura
Sansai Dobe
Saburo Date
Kawaguchi-ya
Jun Hamamura
Isshosai
Kikue Mori
Cruel old woman
Raizo Ichikawa
Hirutaro
Shintaro Katsu
Hojin
Musei Tokugawa
Narrated by
Credits
Director
Kon Ichikawa
Produced by
Masaichi Nagata
Developed by
Hiroaki Fujii
Developed by
Kon Ichikawa
Developed by
Tomio Takamori
Based on the novel by
Otokichi Mikami
Adapted by
Daisuke Ito
Adapted by
Teinosuke Kinugasa
Screenplay by
Natto Wada
Cinematography by
Setsuo Kobayashi
Production design by
Yoshinobu Nishioka
Edited by
Shigeo Nishida
Music by
Yasushi Akutagawa
Music by
Masao Yagi

From The Current

Kabuki Meets ’Scope in Kon Ichikawa’s Masterpiece
Kabuki Meets ’Scope in Kon Ichikawa’s Masterpiece

Critic, filmmaker, and festival programmer Tony Rayns explains how Kon Ichikawa intermingles modernist and classical styles in his masterpiece An Actor’s Revenge.

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An Actor’s Revenge and a Director’s Triumph
An Actor’s Revenge and a Director’s Triumph

In this wildly inventive revenge drama, director Kon Ichikawa blurs the line between stage and screen, infusing kabuki traditions with his own extravagant visual sensibility.

By Michael Sragow

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When Actors Do Double Duty
When Actors Do Double Duty

From Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers to Kazuo Hasegawa in An Actor’s Revenge, performers who multitask as several characters in a single film tap into the essential uncanniness of cinema itself.

By Shonni Enelow

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