Art Theatre Guild


Asura / Kämpfender Dämon
Matsumoto Toshio
Japan 1971
135 min

Experimental filmmaker, prolific critic, challenging theorist, and four-time «commercial guerilla» in the world of feature-length narrative filmmaking, Matsumoto Toshio represents the most sustained intersection of Japans postwar experimental film tradition with the New Wave cinema. If we risk an oversimplified understanding of key New Wave filmmakers such as Ôshima Nagisa and Imamura Shôhei as moving from the conservative structures of studio filmmaking to increasingly unfettered, independent production, Matsumoto by contrast would appear to trace a reverse-course. His movement in the late 1960s from largely avant-garde experimental and documentary work to embrace «conventional» feature-length cinema (albeit within the ATG system) earned him the label of «turncoat» by left ideologues amidst the highly partisan politics of the times. A more careful look at his filmwork and writing suggests, however, Matsumotos feature-length ATG films belong to a belief in a radical, destructive mode of experimentation that would accelerate the collapse of traditional film spectatorship.
(Jonathan M. Hall)

  • Nakamura Katsuo - Gengobei
  • Sanjô Yasuko - Koman
  • Kara Jûrô - Sangorô
  • Imafuku Masao - Hachiemon
  • Tamura Tamotsu - Yasuke
  • Kanze Hideo - Takubei
  • Matsumoto Kappei - Ryôshin
  • Ebata Takashi - Torazô
  • Kawaguchi Atsuko - Kikuno
Matsumoto Productions, Art Theatre Guild of Japan
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