August 10, 2018

Japan’s ‘A Straightforward Boy’ Makes Its Way to the International Silent Film Festival in Manila

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  • While silent films around the globe are characterized with elements of musical accompaniment, Japan’s silent films until the mid-30s are accompanied by a performer known as a katsudo benshi. The katsudo is then given a task to tell the story of the silent film being shown, standing as he or she is near the screen. Therefore, a katsudo has one of the vital roles as he gives voice to the silent film.

    This year, Yasujiro Ozu’s A Straightforward Boy gets its full screening at the International Silent Film Festival at the SM Megamall Cinema 2 on September 1, with the Philippines’ very own Tito Genova Valiente as the katsudo benshi or the storyteller of the silent comedy film.

    This Japanese classical silent comedy film, which Valiente’s narration will star in, tells the story of a boy with a sweet-tooth, being kidnapped by a man, who in turn, could not keep the boy under his control. The silent comedy film will revolve around these two main characters, to be screened for 19 minutes on September 1.

    A Straightforward Boy by Yasujiro Ozu will be shown at SM Megamall Cinema 2 on September 1./IMAGE 2018 Silent Film Festival Press Release

    A film critic as well as a film educator, Tito Valiente, who thinks of being a benshi as a performance itself, is invited by Japan Foundation, Manila to be the first-ever Filipino katsudo benshi to voice one of Japan’s classical silent film masterpieces. According to Valiente, who used to be active in community theater and school presentations, the role he is about to take is going to be both nerve-wrecking in its magnitude and fun as an artistic experience.

    Tito Genova Valiente, as a katsudo benshi, will narrate A Straightforward Boy. 

    Tanikala Drive will introduce Bikolano folk songs as accompaniment to Valiente.

    The Tanikala Tribe also accompanies Valiente in this endeavor by bringing their original musical score to the silent film comedy. Although to be narrated in English, a touch of Bikol will also be introduced to the public, as folk songs from the province will be adding flavor to A Straightforward Boy. 

    Images courtesy of 2018 International Silent Film Festival PR.

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