The Face of Another (I Have a Stranger's Face) (Tanin no kao)


The Face of Another (I Have a Stranger's Face) (Tanin no kao)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 7


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,764
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The Face of Another (I Have a Stranger's Face) (Tanin no kao) Photos

Movie Info

Bearing traces of both Frankenstein and the 1959 Georges Franju horror classic Eyes without a Face, the Japanese The Face of Another is a disturbing Japanese drama featuring Tatsuya Nakadai. His face horribly disfigured in an accident, Nakadai, a wealthy industrialist, commissions a special mask from a renowned plastic surgeon. Nakadai's wife fails to recognize her husband and makes advances to him, which effectively destroys their relationship. Driven insane, Nakadai turns to murder to compensate for the loss of his identity. The melodramatic elements of the film are neatly blended with moments of erotica and generous doses of existential philosophy. The Face of Another is another thought-provoking "documentary fantasy" from the director of the cult classic Woman in the Dunes.


Tatsuya Nakadai
as Mr. Okuyama
Machiko Kyo
as Mrs. Okuyama
Mikijiro Hira
as Psychiatrist
Eiji Okada
as Mr. Okuyama's boss
Bibari Maeda
as Singer in Bar
Miki Irie
as Girl with Scar
Kunie Tanaka
as Patient at Mental Hospital
Minoru Chiaki
as Apartment Superintendent
Etsuko Ichihara
as Yo-Yo Girl
Robert Dunham
as Man in Bar
Koreya Senda
as Man in Bar
Yoshie Minami
as Old Lady
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Critic Reviews for The Face of Another (I Have a Stranger's Face) (Tanin no kao)

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (7)

Audience Reviews for The Face of Another (I Have a Stranger's Face) (Tanin no kao)

  • May 22, 2013
    The Face of Another, unlike Pitfall is highly symbolic and relatable. It's a story of identity, and the constant way humans cover up imperfections. Highly philosophical and especially the first half has deep thoughts. Add this to the beautiful but simple visuals, and it's a real treat. This reminded me of so many other films. The Elephant Man and The House is Black immediately come to mind. Then the surreal first half brought Persona and Un Chien Andalou into the mix. I talk about the first half more since it was far more memorable. After the mask came on this became more straightforward, and less stunning. It still brought up interesting new ideas, but lost the spookiness, and emptiness. Which perhaps was intentional, since by the end the main character is completely transformed. I love the opening scene, and all the scenes involving the creation of the mast. Enjoyable art movie.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 23, 2012
    "Civilization demands light, even at night. But a man without a face is free only when darkness rules the world." The high-concept plot of "The Face of Another" suggests a horror film, but it's really more of a psychological think-piece. Okuyama (Tatsuya Nakadai) is a business executive whose face has been gruesomely burnt in a chemical accident. He spends his day wrapped behind bandages, bitterly loathing himself and his plight. Even his wife can't bear to be around him anymore. But Okuyama finds a doctor with a sophisticated procedure for taking a mold of another face (the two pay a random man for the privilege) and creating an undetectable, form-fitting mask. The doctor is brimming with philosophy about the relationship between face and personality, and warns there will be emotional repercussions when Okuyama changes the interface through which he views the world and it views him. Eventually, the issue narrows to the familiar scenario of the implausibly unrecognized husband trying to seduce his wife as a "stranger" to see what happens. Somewhat disappointing. Director Hiroshi Teshigahara ("Woman in the Dunes," "Pitfall") also makes a strange choice to add a second, sketchier story that never intersects with the first. This tale follows another person with disfiguring facial scars -- this time, a once-pretty young woman who's apparently living in some sort of asylum. The purpose of this sidelight is somewhat mysterious and unresolved, as is a peculiar subplot about a girl with a baffling fixation on yo-yos. Like with Teshigahara's other well-known films, existential issues of identity are a prime concern and the imagery has a surreal, allegorical quality that Rod Serling would have appreciated.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    Questions arise endlessly and circle around one topic: what is the definition of self-perception? Its implications unleash an indefinite number of existential possibilities. Teshigahara's last experimental offering is an unparalleled work of art, regarded by many to be "pretentious" in its artsy imagery. Oh, people, if you could just wake up, open your eyes and see the film as the brilliant satire it is. "A satire of what", I hear you say? This treats the individual's absolutely atrocious dependence towards a visual image and a physical appearance to display personality and behavioral patterns in order to be "unique". This statement, however, gives birth to two ironic, factual contradictions: 1) We are all unique by definition, regardless of your beliefs. 2) Your personality and conducts have already been influenced, if not by media and stereotyping, thanks to your surrounding societal environment. Hence, this is a cinematic treasure of pure genius and audacity. 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2009
    what a brilliant film. entrenched in philosophy, the dialogue in the film and the films entire concept were incredibly profound and thought provoking. nakadai put in a great performance as always and the images produced through some great cinematography were perfect for creating just the right feel for the subject matter. a phenomenal film.
    danny d Super Reviewer

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