In-person: Live narration by benshi Ichirō Kataoka, Kumiko Ōmori and Hideyuki Yamashiro.

Please note: This screening is an off-site, ticketed event at The United Theater on Broadway(opens in a new tab) (formerly The Theatre at Ace Hotel). $25 premium seats. $15 upper balcony, student and accessible seating tickets. Get tickets(opens in a new tab).

Sanji Goto: The Story of a Japanese Enoch Arden

Japan, 1918

Billed as “the first ever Japanese production of its kind,” Sanji Goto holds a fascinating place in international film history. After training as an actor with Thomas Ince, director Kisaburō “Thomas” Kurihara returned to Japan to make films for export to the U.S. beginning with this slapstick comedy. Iwajiro Nakajima, “the Japanese Charlie Chaplin,” stars as an guileless janitor who journeys to the States on the chance of inheriting a fortune. Sadly, the film survives only as a fragment.

DCP, silent, 35 min. Director: Harry Williams, Kisaburō Kurihara. With: Iwajiro Nakajima, Goro Kino, Miyo Suzuki. DCP courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.

Jiraiya the Hero

Gōketsu jiraiya, Japan, 1921

The first star of the Japanese screen, Matsunosuke Onoe plays the title character, a shape-shifting ninja who battles his enemies with an arsenal of magic, which includes transforming himself into a giant toad. Based on a famous folktale, Jiraiya the Hero was one Japan’s earliest “trick films” and survives today as a fragment featuring a series of loosely connected fight scenes.

DCP, b&w, silent, intertitles in Japanese with English subtitles, 21 min. Director: Shōzo Makino. Cast: Matsunosuke Onoe, Suminojo Ichikawa, Kijaku Ōtani.

Our Pet

U.S., 1924

Diana Serra Cary, better known by her screen name, Baby Peggy, was only 19 months old when director Fred Fishback cast her in a series of comedy shorts in 1921 alongside Brownie the Wonder Dog. By the following year, she was one of the biggest child stars in the world. In Our Pet, discovered at auction in 2016 by master benshi Ichirō Kataoka, Peggy is awakened from sleep by a series of burglars who quickly find themselves in over their heads, Home Alone-style.

DCP, b&w, silent with Japanese intertitles, 11 min. Director: Herman C. Raymaker. Screenwriter: Herman C. Raymaker. With: Baby Peggy, Newton Hall, Winston Radom. DCP courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.

A Page of Madness

Kurutta ichipeiji, Japan, 1926

With a scenario devised by Japanese novelist (and later Nobel Prize winner) Yasunari Kawabata with contributions from other members of the radical literary movement known as Shinkankakuha, director Teinosuke Kinugasa crafted this visionary masterpiece that was thought lost for almost 50 years. Wracked with guilt, believing his wanton cruelty drove his wife insane, a husband becomes a janitor at the asylum where she’s incarcerated so he can care for her. When he comes to fear her illness may prevent their daughter from getting married, he gradually loses his own grip on reality. Replete with fantastical images, super impositions and rapid montage, the film subverts any sense of narrative coherence even as Kinugasa builds, according to critic Chris Fujiwara, “an atmosphere of astonishing intensity.”

DCP, silent, intertitles in Japanese with English subtitles, 70 min. Director: Teinosuke Kinugasa. Screenwriter: Yasunari Kawabata, Teinosuke Kinugasa, Minoru Inuzuka, Bankō Sawada. With: Masao Inoue, Yoshie Nakagawa, Ayako Iijima.

Related Series

Have Further Questions?

We're here to help. Chat with a librarian 24/7, schedule a research consultation or email us your quick questions.

Contact us
Contact us