Run Time: 123 minutes
The remarkable artistry of leading Kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando has captivated a huge following, exciting new interest in Japan's Kabuki theater. Known by his first name, Tamasaburo is an "onnagata," specialist in performing female roles. His Metropolitan Opera House appearance last June created American appreciation for his art; the subsequent release of DEMON POND, his first film, drew raves from American critics. Though identified with Japan's New Wave directors, Masahiro Shinoda is inspired by the earlier styles of Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu, for whom he worked as an assistant. These influences are reflected in "Ballad of Orin" (1977), Shinoda's best known work, and DEMON POND, a magical allegory blending spectacular special effects with a poetic image of doomed lovers. The story interweaves a legendary fable with a modern-day search for its source, the Demon Pond that feeds a stream in an otherwise arid village. Yamazawa (Tsutomu Yamazaki of 1980's "Kagemusha") travels from Tokyo and finds his missing friend Akira (Go Kato) forestalling tidal destruction by ringing a bell daily to appease the Dragon God. Tamasaburo plays both Yuri, Akira's beautiful wife, and the Demon Princess who lives in the pond with bizarre mythic creatures. Imagery of startling beauty joins fantasy with reality.
Takeshi Tamura, Haruhiko Mimura (from a play by Kyoka Izumi)
Shigemi Sugisaki, Yukio Tomizawa and Kanji Nakagawa
Masao Kosugi and Noritaka Sakamoto
Zen Ikeda and Sachiko Yamachi
Tamasaburo Bando, Go Kato, Tsutomu Yamazaki