That’s the least one can say for Ichikawa’s snazzy tour-de-force—at once a sophisticated jape and, with its confluence of illusionism, ritual dress-up, and revenge, a resonant evocation of primal theater. . . . The first version, evidently lost, was directed by Tennosuke Kinugasa, a filmmaker during the 1920s and himself a former oyama. Thus, the cultural cross references embedded in An Actor’s Revenge are no less tricky than Ichikawa’s mise-en-scene and just as baffling as his intentions.
September 03, 1979