The Lovers' Exile brings an engaging theatrical form from Japan to contemporary cinema audiences, merging the artistry and grace of the legendary Bunraku Puppet Theatre with the power of the screen through the collective talent of many international contributors. The Lovers' Exile is performed entirely by the Bunraku Ensemble of Osaka, widely considered the most sophisticated puppet theatre in the world. Bunraku, although much discussed, has only rarely been seen in the West. Founded in the pleasure quarters of 17th century Japan, Bunraku is now the oldest doll theatre anywhere in the world. Bunraku performance combines the arts of puppetry, with joruri dramatic recitation and the musical accompaniment of samisen playing. Each puppet is manipulated by three handlers whose combined skills present an elaborate and life-like performance.
The Lovers' Exile is an adaptation of Meido No Hikyaku by classic Japanese dramatist Monzaemon Chikamatsu (1673-1724). The story, one of Chikamatsu's domestic tragedies, recounts the love between a penniless clerk and an indentured prostitute. Chikamatsu's works have been filmed by Japanese directors Kenji Mizoguchi (The Crucified Lovers) and Masahiro Shinoda (Double Suicide) but never before by a Western film maker.
In Japanese with English subtitles.