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The Cheat + Shorts

The Cheat
March 3, 2019 - 7:00 pm
In-person: 
benshi performers Sakamoto Raikō, Kataoka Ichiro, Ōmori Kumiko.


Tokyo March  (Japan, 1929)

Tokyo Kōshinkyoku

In Tokyo, “a city of culture and progress... but also... vice and debauchery,” a poor factory girl and a wealthy scion become star-crossed lovers in Mizoguchi’s bitter melodrama of social inequality.

Narrated by benshi Sakamoto Raikō.

Print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan. 35mm, b/w, intertitles in Japanese with English subtitles, 22 min. Director: Mizoguchi Kenji. Screenwriter: Hatamoto Shuichi, Kimura Chiio. Cast: Natsukawa Shizue, Ichiki Reiji.

The Upstart  (Japan, 1921)

Sanjo Goto/Narikin

Nakajima Iwajirō, dubbed the “Japanese Charlie Chaplin,” stars in this comedy about a man’s  man’s obsession with money.

Narrated by benshi Kataoka Ichiro.

Print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan. 35mm, b/w, silent, intertitles in Japanese with English subtitles, 29 min. Director: Kurihara Thomas. Screenwriter: Iwajiro Nakajima, Suzuki Chisato, Kino Gorō.


The Cheat  (1915)

After a society matron (Fannie Ward) loses embezzled funds on a bad stock tip, she desperately turns to a wealthy Japanese art dealer (Sessue Hayakawa) for a loan but he demands repayment in carnal affection. Bathed in deep chiaroscuro shadow and seething with exoticism and racial paranoia (the Japanese Association of Southern California protested the film on its release), The Cheat is DeMille at his most scandalous.  

Narrated by benshi Ōmori Kumiko.

Print courtesy of George Eastman House Museum. 35mm, b/w, silent, 53 min. Director: Cecil B. DeMille. Screenwriter: Hector Turnbull. Cast: Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Dean, Fannie Ward.

Jiraiya the Hero  (Japan, 1921)

Gōketsu jiraiya

The first star of the Japanese screen, Matsunosuke Onoe plays the mythical title character, a shape-shifting ninja who battles his enemies in a series of loosely connected fight scenes.

Narrated by benshi Kataoka Ichirō, Sakamoto Raikō, Ōmori Kumiko.

35mm, b/w, silent, intertitles in Japanese with/ English subtitles/t, 21 min. Director: Makino Shōzo. Cast: Matsunosuke Onoe, Suminojo Ichikawa, Kijaku Otani.