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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faustian and darkly amusing
An excellent recent birthday present and I was surprised to read the other negative reviews here. The whole brilliance of this story lies in the fact that there is never anything sympathetic about the main character. Disfigured to the point of prefering to wear banadages for the rest of his life, we never encounter him before what is only adumbrated as an horrific...
Published on 13 July 2007 by Dooby Duck

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15 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambiguity -intentional and unintentional
I don't know whether you could say that this is a lesser work of cinema to 'Woman of the Dunes' or simply that the storyline and the setting of the latter give it a natural headstart on this film.
For non-Japanese speakers (like myself) I would definitely advise renting this film before buying - the reason for this is that throughout the film the English subtitles...
Published on 1 Aug 2005 by Mr. C. Rhucroft


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faustian and darkly amusing, 13 July 2007
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This review is from: The Face of Another - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] (DVD)
An excellent recent birthday present and I was surprised to read the other negative reviews here. The whole brilliance of this story lies in the fact that there is never anything sympathetic about the main character. Disfigured to the point of prefering to wear banadages for the rest of his life, we never encounter him before what is only adumbrated as an horrific industrial accident. It is neatly suggested that it is his mistake in fitting a gas mask that contrains him to wear other masks for the rest of his life. At another level, however, it is simply about establishing the backdrop for the story - a kind of dual interpretative level the film continues to offer up throughout without being heavy handed. Indeed, it is entirely likely that he was already an inveterate neurotic and narcissist, but that is part of the ambiguous mix of possible scenarios, emotions, psychonalysis and philosophy this film throws at the audience without fully confirming any particular take. And in any case Nakadai remains utterly compelling throughout. A scene where he does a little dance in front of a hotel mirror is so subtley conceived and impishly daemonic as to be my favourite moment. Moreover, the monotone voice one reviewer mentioned has a clear motivation in his character and is discussed in the film. It would be easy to dismiss some of the montage and lighting techniques as dated, but in my view they would have looked distincly odd at the time anyway. Playing with conventions from still photopgraphy, Pop Art, surrealism and non-naturalistic theatre is all part of the fun here. Throw in a dash of budget Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, some Zen-esque musings and you have an engaging film. A parallel story cuts in every so often as a counterpoint and the whole leaves you with that feeling of "I'm not quite sure what it meant, but it was good" which Teshigahara was propobably aiming for. Finally, a word on the music - well worth a second watch and a second listen.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiroshi Teshigahara, 8 April 2009
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MarkusG "Markus" (Stockholm, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Face of Another - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] (DVD)
"The Face of Another" is a chillling movie about a man who, after an accident, get an artificial face. The story is, of course, about identity, the connection between the face and the personality. At the same time this is a visually complex film. Interspersed through the story are episodes of a film the protagonist has seen, about a young woman with a deformed face. Also, the milieus are quite odd, from the strangely designed and disturbing laboratory of the psychiatrist/scientist who creates the face, to the german beer hall.

The picture on this DVD is very good. And the commentary track with Tony Rayns is really excellent!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Correction for an earlier misrepresentation, 4 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Face of Another - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] (DVD)
I'll eventually revise this review when I get the chance to re-see the film in full - presently just to redress one issue.

I previously posted a review under another account where suggested the subtitles in this film were not ideal, and reading it again recently I realised it was myself who had made a clumsy use of language and overstated it, probably given the wrong impression that the correctness of the English poor (like some bootleg productions). Recently saw again the first half our or so and this confirmed my fears (LoveFilm rental - must have been tired that night or something!)

In fact in most cases the subtitle sentence construction is completely normal/correct (and I can now understand a bit of Japanese). The point I was trying to make (badly!) about my original viewing of the film was the impression that some points, especially in the latter half of the film, where the 'action' started to get most 'complexly psychological/surreal', there were some subtitles that were either quite 'atypical/unusual' sentences in themselves and/or ambiguous and could be interpreted with a variety of meanings, each interpretation leading to a quite different understanding of what taking place, what 'realworld' and what fantasy/delusion etc (Possibly a problem akin to translating difficult foreign philosophy texts such as Hegel !) So I wondered whether, assuming that the authors/filmakers actually intended to 'steer' the majority of the audience on a definite course (or at least a most or less confined channel) of interpretation of what going on, was this being achieved in a similar fashion for the subtitle reading audience as opposed to the dialogue listening audience.
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15 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambiguity -intentional and unintentional, 1 Aug 2005
By 
This review is from: The Face of Another - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] (DVD)
I don't know whether you could say that this is a lesser work of cinema to 'Woman of the Dunes' or simply that the storyline and the setting of the latter give it a natural headstart on this film.
For non-Japanese speakers (like myself) I would definitely advise renting this film before buying - the reason for this is that throughout the film the English subtitles are not quite English to the extent that it may be an obstacle to developing a more long term relationship and understanding with the film. All evidence is that in creating the subtitles a Japanese translator was used without a significant subsequent revisional process to render into fully proper English. At many points I felt that the subtitles were not 100% fully or accurately conveying the content of the Japanese dialogue and this poses a significant problem in a film where the plot is not straightforward and deliberately plays with ambiguity, the borders between fantasy and reality, certain characters apparently being partially real, partially representations of the main characters own subconscious thought etc. I was left wondering to what extent the overall ambiguity experienced and the hypothesing this raised actually resided in the film and was the intention of the filmakers and what was merely a product of the subtitles - perhaps for a Japanese viewer things would have been much more straightforwardly ambiguous!
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12 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Utterly pretentious, 19 Sep 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Face of Another - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] (DVD)
The actor Tatsuya Nakadai has given some brilliant, compelling performances (Kagemusha, Seppuku). Not in this film though. It's difficult to feel anything other than revulsion for the lead character, whose face has been all but obliterated in an industrial accident. His self pity and mistreatment of his wife, (who is having difficulty coming to terms with not just the change to his appearance, but the damage done to his personality) is awful to watch. If this was simply about two people coming to terms with a tragedy of that nature, the film would work. Unfortunately, the director has tried to turn it into something arty/noirish, and failed spectacularly. It is pretentious, painful nonsense, made all the more disappointing by Nakadai's insistence on speaking in a near monotone. Apparently the film is some kind of allegory on the aftermath of Hiroshima. Hiroshima deserves a whole lot better than this.
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The Face of Another - Masters of Cinema series [DVD]
The Face of Another - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] by Hiroshi Teshigahara (DVD - 2005)
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