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Japan, 1966
Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
Based on the novel by Kōbō Abe
With Tatsuya Nakadai, Machiko Kyō, Mikijirō Hira
Approx. 124 min. 35mm print courtesy Japan Foundation.

Businessman Tatsuya Nakadai (star of Kurosawa’s KAGEMUSHA and RAN), facially disfigured in an industrial fire, consents to psychiatrist Mikijirō Hira’s experimental surgery, fitting him with an amazingly lifelike mask. Then estranged wife Machiko Kyō (RASHOMON) falls for the handsome stranger. Third of four collaborations between Teshigahara and novelist Kōbō Abe is an elegantly enigmatic examination of identity and the perils of war.


“The theme is brilliantly and imaginatively explored, and the acting is potent.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“Clearly sees the skull beneath the skin, the dissembling of flesh, life as a vast masquerade.”
– James Quandt, Criterion Current

"Nakadai’s intense part is an apt metaphor for his acting career: he adopts different looks, expressive methods, and strategies for presenting himself from one film to the next.”
– Howard Hampton.

“Tōru Takemitsu’s incisive electronic music accords well with the icy visuals.”
– Peter Grilli


Film Forum