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Visual and Participatory Storytelling By Le Gentil Garçon

In Entertainment
January 28, 2020

Alliance Française de Trivandrum in partnership with The Embassy of France and the Insitut Français India presents ‘Chronicle of the Past World’, Visual and Participatory Story Telling by Le Gentil Garçon at Napier Museum and Kanakakunnu Palace on February 1.

Chronicle of the Past World
The film reinterprets the traditional practice of Kamishibai.

The kamishibai (“paper theatre”) is a Japanese narrative genre based on painted images that the storyteller scrolls through his story by successively removing them from the façade of a small wooden theatre. The “Kamishibai men” earned their living by transporting their small theatre from town to town by bicycle.

They made their living by selling sweets to their audience and had to keep the suspense at the end of each episode so that the audience would come back to see them the next day. It a theatre for poor people that flourished in the 1930s, which was immensely successful and was above all an unlikely meeting point, a syncretism between cinema, theatre, manga and anticipating television.

It is based on a tale that Le Gentil Garçon imagined during a residency at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, Japan, and which is interpreted by an 81-year-old storyteller that he met in Osaka,  Tadashi Sugiura. He is one of the last storytellers of Kamishibai to have an official licence authorizing him to sell sweets on the street and thus allowing him to finance his tours in public spaces. In the film, kamishibai’s theater and its slide-shot system serves as a transition between live action and animated sequences.

The story evokes a “world before”, before man had the power to endanger it. The protagonists speak from a future in which children have never known our present. With the brevity of a fable, the text acts as an epiphany.