A Page of Madness
One of the finest and most revolutionary silent films I’ve seen, A Page of Madness seemingly defies the limitations of early cinema, employing quickly roving shots and repeated whip-pans that feel decades ahead of their time. Yet, the experimental techniques Kinugasa uses all serve to enhance this extended fever dream of a man desperately trying to rescue his wife from an insane asylum. Using no intertitles, Kinugasa uses dance numbers, sudden and drastic temporal shifts, dream sequences and superimpositions to create a balletic , visually expressive descent into insanity. The whip-pans and jarring edits create a successfully disorienting effect with each avant-garde technique used to heighten the delirium and the increasing desperation of the husband to save his mad wife in a house of madness. Both horrifying and envigorating, A Page of Madness is one of the most powerful evocations of insanity I’ve ever seen, using its remarkable opening sequences as a source of momentum that carries its frenzied pace through its brisk 58 minutes, all while retaining a genuine sense of pathos towards its protagonist’s hopeless and fruitless battle.
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