The Face of Another (I Have a Stranger's Face) (Tanin no kao) Reviews
The Close-Up: Mary Ann Doane
"the face is that bodily part not accessible to subject's own gaze"
proximity vs. distance & large vs. small
close-up engages the spectator
"Even monsters have their pleasure."
--continual freeze frame
--scene of him in the mirror, playing with his face and expressions
"mask has its own character"
"getting drunk a mask in itself"
seduces his wife, mask is half-on during fight (postsex)
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.
(1966) The Face OF Another
(In Japanese with English subtitles)
PSYCOLOGICAL DRAMA/ METAPHORICAL
Another intruiging premise from Hiroshi Teshigahara who solidified his name for directing the 1965 film "Woman In The Dunes" aka "Woman of the Sands", this time from the Kôbô Abe novel which centers on a persons point of view upon his burned out face while in the line of duty! He gets a brand new face from a special kind of doctor and goes on a new odyssey by testing people who should know him. The film explores about peoples faces in general without mentioning DNA as a possible identity instead of "remembering" other peoples faces or the purpose of having "faces"! At the same another disfigured young girl is suffering from the same problem except she doesn't get the same treatment as the central character does. Can this 'idea' be thought up as a result of the H-Bomb on Hiroshima, the movie doesn't seem to say so but they're some corralations! It's a great thinking picture since most of it's diaglogue is philosphical until the unappropriated end which doesn't seem to explain anything!
3 out of 4