“The Face of Another” Monday, Nov 8th 7pm in Meacham

5 Nov

The Face of Another (Tanin no kao) 他人の顔
B & W / 1966 / 124 min.
Directed by: Teshigahara Hiroshi

Free Admission. In Japanese with English subtitles. Beautiful 35mm print

Okuyama was badly burned on his face in an accident. His face, covered with bandages attracts the glares of others, even those close to him. Rejected by his friends and even by his wife, he begins to have doubts about his past relationships with those close to him. Unable to believe in others, he begins to scheme a plan that he become “another” man with a different face and seduce his wife.

Okuyama visits a doctor of psychiatry for carrying out his plan. Interested in the clinical and scientific nature of the experiment, the doctor accepts the job of making a mask for him on the condition that Okuyama report to him all of his behaviors while wearing the mask.

After successfully creating the mask, Okuyama’s first activity as a new man is to venture out into the streets. Although Okuyama wants to become another, the feeble-minded daughter of his apartment manager discovers his true identity. Flustered, he tries out the secretary of his company to see if she can recognize him. Encouraged by her unawareness, he begins to carry out his plan to seduce his wife. His wife accepts him.

Feeling jealous at her accepting this ‘other man’, he reproaches his wife for her betrayal. To his surprise, however, she tells that she knew he was her husband from the beginning, and she leaves him.

Wandering the streets at night in a confused state, he begins talking to himself, “I cannot be identified by anyone, I am ‘another’,” he suddenly attacks a woman sexually. The policeman who arrests him thinks he is mad, and calls the doctor, whose card was found in his wallet. The doctor comes and requests that he return the mask, but Okuyama refuses. Okuyama suddenly stabs the doctor to death.

Behind this scene, people, all with the same faces, are slowly walking away.

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