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275 Ratings

An Actor's Revenge

Yukinojo henge

Directed by Kon Ichikawa
Japan, 1963
Drama, LGBT+


While performing in a touring kabuki troupe, leading female impersonator Yukinojo comes across the three men who drove his parents to suicide twenty years earlier, and plans his revenge, firstly by seducing the daughter of one of them, secondly by ruining them…

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An Actor's Revenge Directed by Kon Ichikawa
The use of theater conventions and widescreen helps to plumb the psychological depths of its character types and creates a space for formal play. Yet An Actor’s Revenge takes a more flexible approach, and the striking voiceover conveys a sense of double consciousness. Criterion’s excellent release not only introduces viewers to a remarkable outlier in Ichikawa’s filmography but also to a most colorful performance.
March 03, 2018
Kon Ichikawa’s mind-blowing An Actor’s Revenge is concerned with doubles and triples, with nesting forms of art and identity, and with history as a circular and self-devouring string of miseries. . . . In lockstep with his protagonist, Ichikawa fashions a deliciously fluid aesthetic that’s irreconcilably bleak and sensual. An Actor’s Revenge suggests punk art that’s been disguised in traditionalist’s clothing.
February 21, 2018
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In Ichikawa’s hands, even the shape of the screen seems changeable. He breaks up the space with exhilarating audacity, whether by adopting an artful version of picture-in-picture or literally spotlighting his characters (in the theater or in the street) or dissolving boundaries so that a snow-blanketed stage stretches out in all directions like a vast Arctic landscape. The story runs the gamut from farce, soap opera, and action-packed chanbara all the way to heart-crushing tragicomedy.
February 20, 2018
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