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Benshi Event Will Feature Music, Film


Benshi Ichiro Kataoka
Benshi Ichiro Kataoka

Hamilton’s FILM series will host a Benshi Event featuring benshi Ichiro Kataoka, composer Gabriel Thibaudeau and musicians from Japan, Canada and France on Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m., in the Bradford Auditorium, KJ.

During the silent era, Japanese films were often accompanied not only by music, but by “benshi performers” who lectured, narrated and performed dialogue alongside films in movie theaters.

For years, Hamilton’s Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures Kyoko Omori has been researching the benshi phenomenon. She will present this two-part “benshi event.”

First, Ichiro Kataoka, Gabriel Thibaudeau and the assembled musicians will perform a couple of scenes from their accompaniment-in-progress for Buntaro Futagawa’s Orochi (1925), a short Japanese feature that stars Tsumasaburo Bando and is famous for its influential samurai fight sequences.

After an intermission, Omori will present a short documentary made by Hamilton students and faculty about ESL students from Utica's MVRCR who are taking English/Art classes with the Adult Learning Center at MWPAI. The screening will be accompanied by Hamilton students’ benshi narration and music provided by the international ensemble.

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