Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cinema Kabuki, February 22-26

Cinema Kabuki returns to Cineplex theatres in Toronto and Vancouver.

Starting tonight in Toronto, you'll have an opportunity to see The Zen Substitute, Murder in a Hell of Oil, Heron Maiden and Hokaibo. On Sunday afternoon in Vancouver, Murder in a Hell of Oil and Heron Maiden will screen.

Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theatre involving music, drama and dance. Its origins date back to the 1600s and often involves wild costumes and swordfights.

Cinema Kabuki continues until Sunday February 26 at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto and the Cineplex Odeon International Village in Vancouver.


Cinema Kabuki, in high definition on the big screen

The Zen Substitute

Year Released: 2012
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Running Time: 1h02m
Genre: Dance, Stage
Cast: Kanzaburo, Mitsugoro

Lord Ukyo announces to his wife that he intends to isolate himself in Zen meditation by locking himself in a remote pavilion overnight. The truth, however, is that he is planning to sneak out to see a woman he had met on a recent trip. As a decoy, a hapless servant is forced to stay in the prayer pavilion in place of the lord. Although the lord’s wife is supposed to refrain from visiting her husband out of respect for his religious isolation, she is so monstrously affectionate that she breaks her vow and goes looking for him. This simple domestic farce is elevated to an expression of the joyful energy of life by two of the best dancers of the Kabuki world, Kanzaburo and Mitsugoro.

Murder In A Hell Of Oil

Year Released: 2012
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Running Time: 1h50m
Genre: Dance, Stage
Cast: Nizaemon

Set in Osaka, the centre of commerce in 18th century Japan, Yohei, played by Nizaemon, a specialist of Kyoto/Osaka style Kabuki, is the prodigal son of an oil merchant who consumes the family fortune pursuing ‘pleasures of the night’. In spite of the heartfelt concern of his mother and stepfather, Yohei will not give up. Finally cornered by loan sharks, Yohei begs Okichi, the wife of a fellow oil merchant, for money. Upon her refusal, Yohei turns into a cruel murderer. Splashes of blood and oil energize Kabuki’s most spectacular murder scene.

Heron Maiden

Year Released: 2011
Release Date: February 5, 2011
Running Time: 0h32m
Genre: Dance, Stage
Cast: Tamasaburo

The Heron Maiden is one of the most challenging dance roles in Kabuki. Featuring fifteen musicians on stage and dramatic costume changes amid swirling snow, the popular Heron Maiden is performed by staronnagata Tamasaburo (a male actor who specializes in female roles). Transforming himself gracefully from a white heron to a coquettish girl, then into a woman who seduces and brutally betrays her lover, the Heron Maiden is Tamasaburo’s signature piece. With his extraordinarily expressive fingers - from the opening birdlike steps through to the dance’s finale - Tamasaburo is unforgettable.


Year Released: 2011
Release Date: February 23, 2011
Running Time: 2h45m
Genre: Dance, Stage

Hokaibo is the haunting story of a depraved monk living amidst the din and bustle of the great city of Edo (Tokyo). Pretending to raise funds to rebuild a temple bell, Hokaibo actually spends what money he can collect pursuing women. His mind is turned not to the pious thoughts suitable to a monk, but to fantasies of a life of luxury indulging in his favourite food, drink and pleasures of the flesh. Uncontrollable desire and greed lead him to spying, deceit, theft, and even murder. Hokaibo’s adventures end with his own death; his soul merges with the ghost of a long-suffering princess, creating a powerful and dangerous creature who terrorizes the people of Edo living along the Sumida River under the cherry blossoms.

Scotiabank Theatre Toronto:

Wednesday February 22, 2012
6:00 p.m. "The Zen Substitute"
8:00 p.m. "Murder in a Hell of Oil"

Thursday, February 23, 2012
6:00 p.m. "Heron Maiden"
7:00 p.m. "Hokaibo"

Cineplex Odeon International Village:

Sunday, February 26, 2012
1:00 p.m. "Murder in a Hell of Oil"
3:30 p.m. "Heron Maiden"

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