A Translation Of Shadows: Script


When silent film first arrived in Japan it was narrated live by the local Benshi. Familiar from their work narrating theatre, the Benshi were an attraction in their own right and projected their own interpretation onto the screen action.

In A Translation Of Shadows a Benshi develops an unprofessional obsession with a film’s leading lady. Eventually he interferes with the screen action to such an extent that the film fights back.

This is a playful, witty and poetic reflection on translation, obsession, ‘the gaze’ and film grammar.

Here the original script is printed alongside fifty production photographs and stills illustrating the link between the narration and film action.

This volume also contains the film’s original outline, alongside a developmental Benshi narration for Yasujirō Ozu’s 1933 silent film Woman Of Tokyo and a ‘making of’ essay.