Back to All Events

Film + Concert: A Page of Madness w/ Live Soundtrack by William Hooker

page-of-madness.jpg

Saturday March 3rd             7pm                                                   $10

Please join us at Rhizome on March 3rd as percussionist William Hooker, the genre-bending free jazz legend, will improvise a live soundtrack to the Japanese avant-garde cinema masterpiece "A Page of Madness".

About William Hooker:

whooker2.jpg

William Hooker is an artistic whole, a vast circle of vision and execution.  A body of uninterrupted work beginning in the mid-seventies defines him as one of the most important composers and players in jazz.  As bandleader, Hooker has fielded ensembles in an incredibly diverse array of configurations.  Each collaboration has brought a serious investigation of his compositional agenda and the science of the modern drum kit.  As a player, Hooker has long been known for the persuasive power of his relationship with his instrument.  His work is frequently grounded in a narrative context.  Whether set against a silent film or anchored by a poetic theme, Hooker brings dramatic tension and human warmth to avant-garde jazz.  His ability to find fertile ground for moving music in a variety of settings that obliterate genre distinctions offers a much-needed statement of social optimism in the arts.  A disciplined, adaptive, and energetic approach to his medium insures that the oeuvre of William Hooker will continue to grow thicker and richer.  William Hooker has released more than 40 critically acclaimed CDs.  As a composer, he has received commissions from Meet the Composer, the NY State Council on the Arts, Real Art Ways, Walker Arts Center and others.

About the film:

Since the vast majority of Japanese films from the silent era are lost, the existence of a film as unusual and important as A Page of Madness (Kurutta ichipeiji, 1926) is a real stroke of luck. With its bold and striking visual style, its ambiguous (and, on first viewing, perhaps almost incomprehensible) narrative, and its close connections to the most progressive thinking about film of its day, it's no wonder that A Page of Madness has become one of the most discussed and debated of Japanese films.

A Page of Madness is a masterpiece of Japanese avant-garde cinema. A nightmarish fantasy that threatens to overwhelm its audience, its searing, fevered imagery bombards you from the opening minutes and in an unrelenting wave of bravura filmmaking and refuses to stop until the closing credits. Made in 1926, but thought lost until an incomplete print resurfaced in the early ‘70s, Teinosuke Kinugasa’s surrealist classic is one of the most startling and expressive films of the silent era.

Using superimpositions, rapid and insistent visual patterns, fantasy sequences, and the visual flamboyance of actors impersonating mad people, A Page of Madness builds an atmosphere of astonishing intensity. The film plays on a continual discordance between subjective and objective reality, although the various layers of the narrative can eventually be discerned by the patient viewer. As Gerow points out, the architecture of the insane asylum and the construction of the narrative both impose a "logic of separation." Though the main characters violate this logic in their attempts to reach one another, their repeated crossings of borders "are significant only to the degree that the borders retain some effectiveness," in Gerow's words. Neither "pro"- nor "anti"-madness, clearly not traditional but also not purely modern, A Page of Madness stands as a rich and ambiguous film and one that demands to be read as a forceful but ambivalent commentary on the potentials of cinema itself.