"Benshi", Japanese Silent Film Narrators, and Their Forgotten Narrative Art of "Setsumei": A History of Japanese Silent Film Narration (Japanese Studi
By: Jeffrey A. Dym (author)Hardback
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During the early decades of motion pictures, film exhibitors experimented with having entertainers sit next to the screen to provide commentary and dialogue. This work shows that the narrators (benshi) became an integral part of motion picture history, creating the narrative art of setsumei.
Setting the stage - "Benshi" who performed "Setsumei", "Benshi" in other countries, why Japan?; introduction of motion pictures into Japan and the birth of "Benshi"; laying the foundation - the early development of "Benshi" and "Setsumei" - the Denkikan and Somei Saburo, Russo-Japanese war, theatre milieu; the period of experimentation, 1908-1914; the "Benshi" themselves - training, background, remuneration, lifestyle and preparation; governmental attempts to control the "Benshi" - examinations and licensing, censorship; the pure film movement's attack on the "Benshi" - need to reform Japanese cinema, attacking Kowairo "Benshi", attacking foreign film "Benshi"; period of unification, 1917-1925 - elimination of "Maesetsu", elimination of Kowairo "Setsumei"; the art of "Setsumei"; the talkie revolution and demise of the "Benshi" - talkies, "Benshi" strike back; forgotten but not dead.
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- ID: 9780773466487
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