The Lovers’ Exile

8 April 2024

The Lovers’ Exile (Marty Gross, 1979, Japan/Canada, 87 minutes)

Q&A with the Director following the screening

“The Lovers’ Exile” is an adaptation of the bunraku masterpiece “The Courier for Hell” (“Meido no Hikyaku”) by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725). Gross recruited the top bunraku stars of the day to perform it on a specially constructed stage at Daiei Uzumasa Studios in Kyoto. Among his collaborators were renowned cinematographer Kozo Okazaki (“The Yakuza”) and composer Toru Takemitsu (“Ran”).

Gross edited the three-hour play to a 90-minute film, with famed film critic and author Donald Richie supplying the English subtitles. Following its 1980 release, “The Lovers’ Exile” was screened to acclaim at the Edinburgh and Venice Film Festivals, and in 2011 Gross supervised a restoration and digital remastering of the original.