Sur quelques avatars envisageables du katsuben dans le cinéma japonais des années 1930

Abstract : Japanese silent cinema screenings were dominated by a singular figure, the katsuben or benshi, terms that designated both an individual and a narrative and deictic function associated with “film commentary.” This article examines these points in detail, returning to questions around the katsuben’s complex role in the hybridization of Japanese modes of representation and Western influences. The most contradicting of these questions consists in asking whether the katsuben did not, given their evident place in an artistic tradition characterized by anti-illusionism, rather hinder the development of a film idiom by subordinating the image to the word, and whether, in a “reassuring” sense, they were not able to encourage inventions, whether at the formal or narrative level, that led to a better mastery of properly cinematic resources. The present article participates in this debate by suggesting a different possibility. Is it not possible, and if so under what conditions, that the role of the katsuben was so crucial that, despite their disappearance as a figure with the arrival of talking cinema, several aspects of their function were transformed in the films in a more idiosyncratically audiovisual manner?
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Contributor : Jean-Michel Durafour <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 10:01:56 PM
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Jean-Michel Durafour. Sur quelques avatars envisageables du katsuben dans le cinéma japonais des années 1930. CiNéMAS, Université de Montréal, 2010, 20 (1), pp.45. ⟨10.7202/039266ar⟩. ⟨hal-02068409⟩

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