Shinoda’s new wave film Double Suicide remains faithful and transforms Chikamatsu’s play in the sense that the main characters Jihei and Koharu his courtesan lover commit double suicide. However, he transforms the story by making Jihei be forced into committing suicide in the movie by the Kurogo unlike in the play where he was passionate about ending his own life and that of his lover.
Shinju ten no Amijima is Chikamatsu’s puppet play that exhibits a love triangle where a paper merchant Jihei dumps his family of wife and kids to eventually commit love suicides with his courtesan lover Koharu. In the play when the two get into the scene they are not given time by the Kurogo to hesitate about their suicidal plan. They are instead guided into their tragedy. The Kurogo lets Jihei grab a sword and kill the courtesan and then assists Jihei to hang himself. Contrastingly, in the film, the Kurogo demonstrates the two lovers plan unlike what the Kabuki Kurogo does. Their character is also manipulated by menacingly and irresistibly (Cornyetz 113).
In the film it is repeatedly shown that even though Shinoda’s Kurogo at times serves as stagehands, it forcibly manipulates the two main characters lives; Jihei and his courtesan lover. The disparity between the play and the film is that in the play the Kurogo is conventionally made-up to obliterate as much as they can. However, in the film, the Kurogo are so conspicuous that they even control the characters. This reversal of strategy assists the director of the film to exhibit his insight into an invisible reality that is inundated in the daily lives. In effect, the actors are transformed into puppets and their destiny is not in their control (Cornyetz 113).
Some Aspect of Shinoda’s Style and Specific Examples as To How and To What Effects They Work In the Film
By the Shinoda’s Kurogo being outstanding in the movie at critical times they become more forceful and active than Bunraku’s conventional puppet operators. In the play, Chikamatsu being aware of his aesthetic value and philosophy employed the Kurogo as a commonly used stage practice. On the other hand, in the film Double Suicide Shinoda was much more interested in the staging of his own perception of life which he felt could not be separated from illusion. This is because of his experiences at a personal level when he was young made him perceive life as exceptionally unpredictable. In spite of Shinoda’s perceptible fascination with Chikamatsu’s philosophy in the relationship between reality and deceit, he went on to interpret Chikamatsu’s play in a manner that mirrored his discernment of life as unforeseeable. For this reason, he recast Kurogo’s stage principle and presented the Kurogo as a contradictory character in comparison to Chikamatsu’s novel puppet play.
Unlike Jihei the plays paper merchant Shinoda strikes one as an intellectual who comes up with flawless reasoning that would cause Jihei to abandon his wife and children only to commit love suicides with Koharu his courtesan lover. His use of the Kurogo is well cut out; he uses them as agents of his absurdity concept. This is compared to the play where the anonymous beings in black manipulate the puppets to kill themselves or other puppets. The Jihei in Chikamatsu’s play does not need to be guided by the Kurogo into committing suicide since he is already fully motivated into self-destruction. However, the Jihei in Shinoda’s film Double Suicide frantically needs to be led to his own doom by the Kurogo (Cornyetz 113).
Chikamatsu visualized as a dramatist to ensure his perception of art was between fiction and reality. On the other hand, Shinoda integrated his perception of art as a filmmaker into his perception of life as an individual. Shinoda’s insistent employment of the Kurogo to drive the two love birds into double suicides necessitates the use of the meta-theatre technique. This is being aware of double reality where the simple realistic claim by the theatre is claimed. Through using this technique Shinoda can under his own direction still give the Kurogo a free hand (114).
The film’s structure in itself is meta-theatrical in nature because the views are made to see double. To make the audience be aware of the metatheatrical nature of his film Shinoda shows the real Bunraku troupe which includes the black-robed puppeteers rehearsing for the original puppet play in his prologue. Through a voice over the viewers can hear Shinoda converse with the film’s scriptwriter where he hunts for the final suicide scene’s location. The emphatic nature in which the audience is subjected to view double reality in the prologue sections makes them realize the movie’s self-awareness; that it intends to show Chikamatsu’s puppet play film adaptation. The self-awareness in the prologue enables viewers not to be emotionally attached to the protagonists but to be aware of the double reality presented in the prologue (Cornyetz 114).
Cornyetz Nina, Gazing Disinterestedly: Politicized Poetics differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Volume 12, Number 3, (2001):113-114.Print.
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