Kagamijishi, 1935

Kagamijishi is a short performance film intended to introduce non-native viewers to Kabuki theater and also to showcase the skill of Kikugoro IV, a legendary, multi-generation Kabuki artist. Ozu’s repeated fixed position shots (one on center stage, a second to the side of the stage, and a third from an upper balcony) are evident throughout the film. Although I’m unfamiliar with the vernacular of Kabuki theatre, the then middle-aged Kikugoro’s ability to transform himself from delicate maiden to possessed, ferocious beast by donning a lion mask is remarkable.

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