Into the Picture Scroll: The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa

Friday, November 10, 2006 - 8:00pm

In her 2004 film Into the Picture Scroll: The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa, documentary filmmaker Sumiko Haneda (b. 1926) follows both the life of 16-17th century Japanese scroll painter Iwasa Matabei and the narrative of one of his most famous picture scrolls. The scroll retells the story of a then-popular joruri puppet play about samurai hero Ushiwaka-maru and his mother, the Lady Tokiwa. On her way to visit her son, Lady Tokiwa is attacked and killed by a group of bandits. Her ghost appears to her son, who promptly sets off to wreak bloody vengeance.

 The Picture Scroll brims with images gruesome in the extreme as the film shifts between translating into the medium of film the pictorial narrative of the scroll, and reconstructing the biography of its author, whose own mother had been executed on political grounds. Of particular interest is the film's soundtrack, which features newly composed music and a joruri singer, who narrates the story.
(Japan, 2004, 100 minutes, Directed by Sumiko Haneda, in Japanese with English subtitles.)

This is the first screening of Into the Picture Scroll: The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa in Chicago, and one of only a handful of screenings so far in North America.

Co-sponsored by Humanities Collegiate Division, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and University of Chicago Arts Planning Council.