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Voluntary Blindness

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Chapter Summary

Blindness, the loss of one's eyesight - this has been one of the great motifs of tragedy from time immemorial. This chapter presents several examples from celebrated European and Asian tragedies. Film, a system of symbols conceived of in nineteenth century France which blossomed throughout the twentieth century, has made possible the popularization of melodrama on a global scale, with physical defects such as blindness, deafness and dumbness flourishing within melodrama as the great motifs. Blindness in Japanese films is neither proof of a curse from God nor a symbol of despair, and, there are any number of films that involve entirely ordinary people and centre on blind characters. Since Shunkin-sho was first filmed in 1935, the role of Shunkin has been played by the representative actresses of their generations, taking on a definitive significance within Japanese cinema.

Keywords: Asian tragedies; blindness; European tragedies; France; Japanese films; Shunkin-sho



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