Katsudô Benshi: Tradition of Japanese Silent Film Narration

Katsudô Benshi Japanese Silent Film with Live Narration, Featuring Sakamoto Raikô at Swarthmore College February 15 and 16, 2010

Symposium on Katsudô benshi and Silent Film History Monday, February 15, 4:30 PM, Cunniff Hall (Science Center 199)

Diasporic spectatorship: migrating cinema, benshi, and Japanese immigrants Hikari Hori, Visiting Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University Legacy of Katsuben: Narration and Narrativity in The Films of Kurosawa Akira David Desser, Professor Emeritus of Cinema Studies, University of Illinois Discussant: Timothy Corrigan, Professor of Cinema Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Film Screening with Live Benshi Narration by Sakamoto Raikô Tuesday, February 16, 7:00 PM, Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC) Cinema

Blood Splattered at Takadanobaba (1928) feat. Okochi Denjirô, 6 min. The Adventurer (1917) featuring Charlie Chaplin, 20 min. Orochi/The Serpent (1925), featuring Bandô Tsumasaburô, 75 min.

From the dawn of cinema in Japan, katsudô benshi movie narrators, lecturers, movie-tellers, or poets of the darkness have played a vital role in film exhibition, providing commentary, narration, introductions of actors, readings or translations of inter-titles, and voices of the on- screen film stars of the silent era. Sakamoto Raikô, one of the most talented young benshi in Japan, will join us to present a rarely-screened samurai film of the silent era, together with a comedy short by Charlie Chaplin. Narration will be in Japanese, with English benshi subtitles provided for the main feature. A Swarthmore College Cooper Series Event, co-sponsored by the Japanese Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Asian Studies, Film and Media Studies, and the University of Pennsylvania Center for East Asian Studies.

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